Monday, June 09, 2008

Need for speed: Those three hours

An article in the magazine Innovate, published by Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Physicians, explains how tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) has dramatically changed the treatment of clot-type strokes.

And it emphasizes the need to get stroke victims - even suspected stroke victims - to a properly equipped hospital right away. The clot-busting medication tPA is know to be effective, in carefully managed cases, within three hours of the onset of an ischemic stroke.

It also goes to the need for preparation and the availability of the right health professionals. Not every stroke victim is a candidate for tPA, and there's a limited amount of time to make that determination.

“In the wrong hands, tPA can be deadly,” the article quotes Dr. Jin-Moo Lee, Washington University neurologist at Barnes-Jewish. “Studies have shown that hospitals without a lot of experience actually end up causing more harm than good.”

That's important to know - especially if you have to speak on behalf of a stroke victim. Call 9-1-1. Be insistent that the victim is transported to a hospital with the correct expertise.

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