Friday, February 18, 2011

Too often, delay threatens stroke recovery

Time, as many entries of this blog have noted, is vital.

For stroke patients who need the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, it's especially important. While there is a 4.5-hour window, it's generally agreed that even quicker - if applied correctly - is ideal.

So how are the hospitals doing? According to one story, few stroke patients given clot-buster quickly enough:
Few eligible stroke patients get an injectable clot-busting drug within the recommended 60-minute window after their hospital arrival, new research finds.

"It has been widely recommended that the 'door-to-needle' time should be 60 minutes," said study author Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine. The phrase refers to the timeframe between when the patient arrives at the hospital and when that patient is given the clot-buster, known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

In his analysis of stroke patients from 1,083 hospitals, he found the 60-minute window was not the typical reality. "That occurs only in 26.6 percent of patients," he said.

We can, and must, do better. Lives and the quality of those lives are at stake.

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons user Jorgebarrios)

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