Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Reducing time can improve outcomes

You've heard here and elsewhere that time is so critical in stroke treatment. Even though stroke treatment is far from ideal, speed can often improve the outcome.

I ran across an interesting article that laid out ideas that experts propose to reduce time in treating strokes:
Because the absence of blood flow to the brain results in the ongoing death of brain cells and continued loss of functionality, “every minute of delay in administering t-PA is worth 1.8 days of disability-free life,” he said. “Years ago, we were treating 4 percent of patients nationwide with t-PA, which has grown to 8 percent and even 10 percent in New Jersey thanks to greater awareness by both hospitals and patients. But with a theoretical goal of administering it to 30-40 percent of all stroke patients someday,” he said, “we’ve got a long way to go.”
To help close that gap, Gizzi advocates further streamlining the process by which stroke victims are treated during transport to the hospital through a series of new practices, many of which require a physician’s greater trust in, reliance on, and collaboration with the emergency medical services personnel and paramedics who are first on the scene.
Most of us have seen delays in treatment of all kinds of ailments in hospitals and other locations. For stroke patients, delays can mean death or disability. The need for speed must be taken seriously.

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