The care of rural stroke patients was improved when an urban stroke center offered telephone assistance in treatment, according to a study published in the January 11 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The stroke center doctors helped decide when and how to treat patients with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, called tPA. The drug can reduce disability and save lives, but its use is complicated. The treatment carries risks, is only appropriate for certain patients, and must be given within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms. In some rural areas, there is a lack of staff experienced in the treatment. As a result, the treatment is often not given when it could be beneficial.
In the past, many stroke centers have required that patients be transported to the urban hospital to receive tPA, in part due to liability and safety concerns. For this study, patients were treated at small rural hospitals with telephone support from the stroke center, and then transported to the stroke center for care.
Marilee Reu | EurekAlert!
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