Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Ambulance staff 'can speed up stroke treatment'
Treating stroke in specialised ambulances en route to hospital is feasible and could boost the number of patients who receive life-saving therapy, experts believe. Mobile stroke units can halve the time it takes a patient to get clot-busting drugs, a small German trial found. The drugs only work if given within four and a half hours of stroke onset. Since not all patients are suitable candidates, a rapid assessment is critical, The Lancet Neurology reports. Clot-busting drugs (thrombolytics) can be effective if the stroke is caused by a blood clot (the cause in about 80% of cases), but not if it is due to a bleed. The faster an eligible patient receives clot-busting treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability