Window of opportunity for stroke treatment widens | Science News

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Window of opportunity for stroke treatment widens

Use of clot-busting drugs as long as 4 ½ hours after an event pays dividends later

By
4:04pm, September 24, 2008
Emergency room physicians can deliver clot-busting treatments to a wider range of stroke patients than previously thought, European researchers report in the Sept. 25 New England Journal of Medicine.

The finding could change the way stroke is treated and increase ER doctors’ ability to prevent some cases of disability caused by strokes, scientists say.

Most strokes result when a blood clot lodges in the brain, blocking blood flow to other parts of the organ. A powerful drug called tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator, can dissolve these clots. But medical dogma holds that it must be given within three hours of a stroke’s onset. Beyond that, the thinking goes, the bulk of the brain damage is done and adding the risk of internal bleeding that accompanies clot-busters seems unwise. The new study extends that window of effective tPA treatment by 90 minutes, to 4 ½ hours.

This precious extra time to diss

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