There are some encouraging numbers in a recent study about hospitals pushing faster stroke care get better results:
The study is "more evidence that for stroke, every minute counts," says lead author Gregg Fonarow, a heart specialist at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Researchers looked at 71,169 patients with ischemic strokes, the kind caused by blood clots. They compared those treated in the years 2003-2009 with those treated in 2010-2013 after the hospitals adopted an improvement program developed by groups including the American Stroke Association.
Result: The share of tPA-treated patients who got the drug within an hour of arriving rose from 26% to 41% and reached 53% by the last months of the study. The median time elapsed fell from 77 minutes to 67 minutes.
In-hospital deaths among the treated patients fell from 9.9% to 8.2%. More of them left the hospital able to walk (45.4% vs. 42.2%), and more went home to recover (42.7% vs. 37.6%). A possible complication, bleeding in the brain, affected fewer patients (4.6% vs. 5.6%).Of course, much more work is needed to get these numbers even better. But at least some providers are getting the message.