Derdeyn appointed chair-elect of AHA Stroke Council

Colin P. Derdeyn, MD, professor of radiology, of neurological surgery and of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed vice chair and chair-elect of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.


The Stroke Council is one of 16 scientific councils within the association. It develops better ways to identify, treat and prevent strokes; awards scholarships; publishes the journal Stroke and organizes and conducts the International Stroke Conference.

“This appointment is a great honor for me, but it’s also a recognition of the dedicated and innovative work of the stroke treatment team at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital,” Derdeyn said. “Stroke has to be treated as soon as possible, and we’re among the fastest stroke units in the nation in terms of the time between a potential stroke patient’s arrival at the hospital and the start of treatment.”

Derdeyn earned both his bachelor’s degree and his MD from the University of Virginia, in 1984 and 1988 respectively. He came to Washington University as a resident in 1990.

Derdeyn is principal investigator of the Specialized Program for Translational Research in Acute Stroke Center at the school and the hospital. The center, now in its fifth year, is funded with a $9 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

With the center’s support, Derdeyn and his colleagues have been working to improve stroke diagnosis and treatment. For example, Derdeyn has been developing ways to use positron emission tomography (PET) scans to track brain blood flow rates.

“Reduced blood flow may lead to stroke, so we’re taking a close look at how brain blood vessels and the brain itself respond to reduced pressure in the arteries that feed the brain,” he said.

Derdeyn has been a leader in multicenter clinical trials of stroke treatments. He was an executive investigator in a study in 2011 that found surgical bypass of a blocked carotid artery was no more effective in reducing stroke risk than drug treatments.

“We’re still thinking about surgical approaches to remedy this problem that might have a lower risk of complications,” he said at the time. “For now, though, nonsurgical treatments are better at reducing risk from a blocked carotid.”

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.