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More evidence that time-to-treatment is crucial for stroke

Staff writer |
Stroke patients have worse outcomes when delays occur in restoring blood flow to the brain, a new study shows.

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Dutch researchers looked at 500 people who suffered a stroke caused by blocked blood flow to the brain - what's known as an ischemic stroke, the most common form.

About half of the patients received intra-arterial treatment (IAT), which involves inserting a catheter into an artery to either remove the clot, to deliver clot-busting drugs near the site of the blockage, or both. The other patients did not receive IAT.

The study found that the average amount of time needed between the onset of a stroke and the moment the patient first received the catheter was about four hours and 20 minutes, and the average time it took for blood flow to be restored to the brain was five hours and 40 minutes.

There was a 6 percent lower chance of a good outcome for patients for every hour of delay in restoring blood flow to the brain, concluded a team led by Dr. Diederik Dippel, of Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

"This study highlights the critical importance of reducing delays in time to IAT for patients with acute ischemic stroke," they wrote. "Our findings imply that patients with acute ischemic stroke should undergo immediate diagnostic workup and IAT."

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