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New Stroke Treatment Guidelines

06/12/2009 - News

New Stroke Treatment Guidelines

By: June Chen, MD

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The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have issued new recommendations for an extended window for acute stroke therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a drug that breaks down clots.

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have issued new recommendations for an extended window for acute stroke therapy with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a drug that breaks down clots.

This change to stroke treatment guidelines is expanding the time period that some stroke patients can get tPA to 4.5 hours, according to an advisory published online May 28, 2009 in the journal Stroke.

 

This new science advisory states that tPA can now be used to treat acute ischemic stroke between 3 and 4.5 after onset of stroke symptoms, but continues to stress that early treatment is still essential for improved stroke outcomes. The eligibility criteria for treatment in this extended time window are similar to those for the original 3 hour time window, but exclude patients over the age of 80, those taking oral anticoagulants, those with a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score over 25, and those with a history of both stroke and diabetes.

 

The relative efficacy of tPA in the 3- to 4.5-hour time window versus other methods of acute stroke treatment is not well-established and requires further study. At present, only 5% of patients who present with acute stroke receive tPA. The expansion of the treatment window will likely increase the number of eligible stroke patients who benefit from receiving the clot-busting medication.

 

Source:

Stroke. Published online before print May 28, 2009.

Created on: 06/05/2009
Reviewed on: 06/12/2009

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