More Time for Stroke Victims
Reported May 29, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Stroke victims have a longer window to get
life-saving treatment than originally thought, according to researchers. A
new study suggests the traditional three-hour time window for doctors to
administer a potent clot-busting medication to save brain tissue is too
short. Researchers showed that treatment could benefit patients up to four
and a half hours after they experience their first stroke symptom.
Every year, more than 750,000 Americans suffer a stroke, or brain attack,
due to a sudden drop in blood flow to the brain. Most strokes are ischemic,
meaning a blocked artery causes them. For these strokes, a medication called
tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, can open blocked blood vessels and
restore blood flow to the brain.
"We've known that this treatment works for ischemic stroke since 1955,"
Maarten Lansberg, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and neurological
sciences at Stanford was quoted as saying. "But in the United States, only
about 3 percent of stroke patients end up getting treated. Most of them are
ineligible because they come to the hospital after the three-hour time
In the study, researchers looked at 1,622 patients who arrived at the
hospital between three and four and a half hours after their symptoms
started. Treatment with tPA improved odds of a favorable outcome by 31
percent. Researchers also found no change in the death rate among patients
treated with tPA during the three to four and a half hour window.
"A favorable outcome means that patients are either completely back to
normal or they have minimal symptoms, like some numbness or a slight facial
droop," Lansberg was quoted as saying. "But they can do everything in their
normal life that they were able to do before the stroke happened"
Source: Stroke, May 28, 2009