Alteplase Given Promptly After Stroke Reduces Long-term Disability
Oxford, UK - Many more stroke patients could benefit from thrombolytic treatment but it needs to be administered as quickly as possible after the first signs of illness, according to new findings from the largest meta-analysis to date investigating the clot-busting drug alteplase. The study, which involved more than 6700 stroke patients, is published in The Lancet.
The emergency treatment with alteplase markedly improves the chances of a good outcome when administered within 4·5 hours of onset of symptoms but, although still worthwhile, its benefit diminishes the later it is given.
The findings show just how important it is for people with acute ischaemic stroke (in which blood flow to an area of the brain is blocked or reduced) to be identified quickly and treated by specialist staff in order to reduce the subsequent degree of disability.
“Our results show that alteplase treatment is a very effective means of limiting the degree of disability in stroke patients,” said study co-author and senior statistician Dr Jonathan Emberson, from the Clinical Trial Service Unit at the University of Oxford in the UK.
Dr Emberson and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of individual patient data from all the major trials of alteplase for treatment of acute ischaemic stroke. Analysis of data from nine randomised trials involving 6756 patients (1729 older than 80 years of age) showed that alteplase treatment significantly increased the odds of a good stroke outcome (no significant disability 3–6 months after stroke), with faster treatment offering the best chance of recovery. Continue>
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