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Use of clot busters for stroke increased from 2005 to 2009, but still low

Date:
June 3, 2011
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
The use of a clot-busting drug for stroke increased over a recent five-year period, but it's still low, according to a new study. About 3.4 percent to 3.7 percent of Americans who suffered an ischemic stroke in 2009 received a clot-busting drug compared to 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent in 2005. Researchers believe that the increased use of clot-busting drugs may reduce overall rates of stroke disability and death.

The use of clot-busting drugs to treat acute ischemic stroke increased from 2005 through 2009 -- but is still low, according to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Clot-busting drugs are known as thrombolytics, and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only FDA-approved thrombolytic for treating acute ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot in the brain.

Although the study didn't follow patients after hospital discharge, "we believe that the increased treatment rate has the potential to reduce the overall burden of stroke disability and morbidity," said Opeolu Adeoye, M.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of emergency medicine and neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

Using Medicare records and pharmacy billing codes, researchers found 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent of acute ischemic stroke patients received a thrombolytic drug in 2005, and 3.4 percent to 3.7 percent did in 2009.

In a further calculation, the researchers assumed that some or all of the billings for unapproved thrombolytics and/or treating hemorrhagic stroke were billing errors, or represented an ischemic stroke that subsequently developed some bleeding, which occasionally occurs. This upped the use of tPA, Adeoye said, which led to a conservative estimate that 3.4 percent to 5.2 percent -- or 23,800 to 36,000 of the 700,000 Americans who had an ischemic stroke in 2009 -- received tPA.

Treatment with a clot-busting drug is most effective as soon as possible after stroke symptoms begin -- ideally within the first hour, according to American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines. But, doctors can give tPA to some patients up to 4.5 hours after symptoms begin.

Co-authors are Richard Hornung, Ph.D.; Pooja Khatri, M.D.; and Dawn Kleindorfer, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Opeolu Adeoye, Richard Hornung, Pooja Khatri, and Dawn Kleindorfer. Recombinant Tissue-Type Plasminogen Activator Use for Ischemic Stroke in the United States: A Doubling of Treatment Rates Over the Course of 5 Years. Stroke, 2011; DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.612358

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Use of clot busters for stroke increased from 2005 to 2009, but still low." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602162818.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2011, June 3). Use of clot busters for stroke increased from 2005 to 2009, but still low. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602162818.htm
American Heart Association. "Use of clot busters for stroke increased from 2005 to 2009, but still low." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602162818.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

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