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Study Finds that Every Minute Counts for Stroke Patients

Update Date: Jun 19, 2013 03:03 PM EDT

Suffering from a stroke can happen anywhere and result in fatal deaths due to poor response time. Researchers and doctors have known that when it comes to treating stroke victims, time is essential. According to a new study, researchers confirmed that every single minute counts when it comes to treating a stroke patient. The researchers concluded that 15 minutes could be the difference between life and death for these patients.

"These findings support intensive efforts to accelerate patient presentation and to streamline regional and hospital systems of acute stroke care to compress [treatment] times," Dr. Jeffrey Saver from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles said in a news release according to HealthDay.

The research team evaluated the data of over 58,000 patients who experienced an ischemic stroke, which is a stroke that occurs due to blocked blood flow to the brain. The patients were being treated within the first four and a half hours since the symptoms showed with clot-dissolving tissue plasminogen activators (tPA). The patients were treated in about 1,400 different U.S. hospitals between 2003 and 2012. The researchers found that for every 15 minutes that tPA therapy was administered earlier, the patients were less likely to die, less likely to suffer from bleeding in the skull, more likely to walk after treatment, and more likely to get discharged at home.  

The researchers calculated that the median time between the start of stroke symptoms and treatment was two hours and 24 minutes. Only nine percent of the patients were treated within the first hour and a half. This group was 26 percent less likely to die and 51 percent more likely to walk. 77 percent was treated 91 to 180 minutes from the onset of the symptoms and 14 percent was treated after 181 to 270 minutes had passed.

The researchers found that about nine percent of patients died at the hospital, five percent had bleeding in their skulls, 33 percent were able to walk after being released and 38 percent of the patients were discharged to their homes. The researchers found that one of the greatest difficulties in treating stroke victims is the time it takes to get the victims to the hospital. Monitoring patients since the initial symptoms started is vital in saving patients.

These findings suggest that hospitals and medical professionals need to reconsider how they address and treat stroke victims. 

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