Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More time on the side of treating stroke

From the London (Ont.) Free Press:
The window for delivering critical clotbusting drugs after a stroke is slightly bigger than was thought, updated guidelines for stroke care suggest.

The revised best practice recommendations say the drugs, which can prevent or minimize the damage from a stroke, can be given within 4.5 hours of a stroke. Previous guidelines suggested the drugs had to be administered within three hours to be effective.

The larger window may mean more people who have strokes get care, a welcome development if it occurs.

It's estimated that less than a third of people who have had a stroke get drugs that can break up the blood clots clogging an artery and cutting off blood supply to a part of the brain.

If untreated within the optimal window, that damage becomes permanent and can lead to speech and motor difficulties and cognitive impairments.

It's why those who work in stroke medicine use the adage "time is brain."

Even though the new guidelines suggest there's more time than was thought, that shouldn't slow anyone's pace, suggested Dr. Stephen Phillips, head of the expert panel that revised the recommendations. ...more

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