Every year, patients were 11 percent more likely to be treated by tPA, even though across the entire period of time only 3.8 percent of total patients got the clot-busting drug, researchers reported.
- Blacks were 38 percent less likely than whites.
- Hispanics were 25 percent less likely than whites.
- Women were 6 percent less likely than men.
- People with private insurance were 29 percent more likely to receive tPA compared to those on Medicare.
- People living in the so-called "Stroke Belt" in the southeastern United States were 31 percent less likely than those living elsewhere to receive tPA.
"I think it's something that's probably decreasing over time, but unfortunately still existed in our findings," Madsen said of the disparities.It's somewhat confusing that people in the United States' Stroke Belt don't get the drug that helps treat strokes. Click here to read more about the Stroke Belt.
And for the other numbers, it shows the importance of getting people to a hospital - one that can administer tPA - as quickly as possible, and the importance of having someone advocating for the patient. Frequently, they can't speak and need someone speaking on their behalf.