Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Good news on the clot-busting front

I received tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in 1998 - early for the drug's use - and convinced that it helped in my stroke recovery. Went from unable to move my right side and unable to speak to getting back both.

A month or so later, I ran an 8-kilometer road race. After speech therapy, I went back to writing for a living. I do believe that my speaking skills are not nearly as good as before, but in all honesty, I am grateful to God for my outcome.

Most strokes are caused by a blood clot lodged in the brain. The drug works to dissolve the clot and speed recovery. Given that it's a powerful drug to prevent blood from clotting, it takes special training and good judgment to use the drug for the right stroke patients.

Thus, one problem is the reluctance of using the clot-busting tPA, even for patients would benefit. Recently, though, researcher found that more neurology residents are using the clot-busting drug:
Researchers found that the proportion of neurology residents who say they're comfortable using tPA rose from 73 percent in 2000 to 94 percent in 2010.

"This is good news," senior author Dr. Brett Cucchiara, an assistant professor of neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, said in a journal news release.

"It is imperative that neurology residents attain a level of comfort using tPA that will allow them to use the medication effectively in their clinical practice and guide other physicians in its use," Cucchiara noted.

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