A new study presented on the American Stroke Association meeting reveals that only 4 percent of the Americans are able to get clot-busting drugs, even though 80 percent of the population lives relatively close to a stroke care center.
Even though many patients could receive emergency stroke treatment, few actually receive the recommended therapies, the new study suggests. Researchers found that only 4 percent of the more than 370,000 Medicare patients who suffered a stroke in 2011 were treated with tPA.
The clot-busting drug was approved around two decades ago in 1996 by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent serious disability after a stroke.
Lead author of the study Professor Opeolu Adeoye said a great deal of progress in not being made in this area though the tPA medication (tissue plasminogen activator) increases the chance for patients to regain normal functions and return home.
Adeoye is the associate professor of emergency medicine and neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati.
tPA works best if given to the patient within 4.5 hours of a stroke and it is given intravenously. John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore said around 800,000 people suffer from stroke each year alone in America.
Millions of women with a history of preeclampsia should be screened and treated for high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and high cholesterol to reduce their risk for stroke, according to the first-ever guidelines from the American Heart Association for preventing stroke in women.
Of the nearly 4 million women who give birth each year, experts estimate 6 percent to 10 percent of them develop preeclampsia, a dangerous spike in blood pressure that occurs late in pregnancy.
Shazam Hussain, head of the stroke center at the Cleveland Clinic, said they need to go a long way despite improvements in care are evident.