July 15, 2011
David Langer, MD
Stroke remains one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Unfortunately, the treatment of stroke remains problematic due to the difficulties involved in getting patients diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion. The clot-busting drug tPA remains the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) which is caused by a blood clot in the brain. In order for tPA to be effective, it should be administered within the first three hours after the initial onset of stroke symptoms.
Recently, researchers from the University of Cincinnati reported in the American Heart Association’s Stroke journal that 3.4 percent to 5.2 percent of Americans who suffered from an ischemic stroke in 2009 received tPA compared to 1.8 percent to 2.1 percent in 2005. While this finding is a sign of improvement, it is still very low. As such, we must continue to improve our treatment of stroke patients. Time remains a critical element in stroke management.
Current efforts both in basic science, as well as in system-based work flows in stroke management, are ongoing in efforts to improve the outcome of stroke patients. The goal is to preserve the brain, while improving identification of stroke and treatment.
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