LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Early treatment is key to effectively treating stroke and lowering mortality for the majority of patients, a new study suggests.
Every 15-minute reduction in administration of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator -- tPA -- was associated with a five percent lower risk of death, according to the study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The faster a clot-reducing drug is administered, the greater the risk of death from stroke diminishes, the researchers said in a news release on Thursday.
"Once the patient arrives at the hospital, it is critical for the facility to perform rapid diagnostic evaluation and imaging, and in eligible patients promptly initiate tPA," said study author Dr. Jeffrey L. Saver, a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of the UCLA Stroke Center.
The more time that elapses before a patient receives the drug to help break up the clot that is blocking a blood vessel in the brain, the slimmer the chances of a good outcome, the release said.
The tPA drug is a proven intervention for acute ischemic stroke patients but can only be given within four-and-a-half hours after the onset of a stroke -- it has the greatest benefits when given earlier in that time frame, according to the study found.
"Despite proven benefits, national guidelines recommendations and explicit goals for administering tPA within 60 minutes of hospital arrival, the vast majority of U.S. hospitals are not meeting this critical goal for timely administration of tPA in stroke patients," said study author Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, the Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.