Treating mild strokes with more aggressive clot-busting drug would decrease damage and costs, researchers say

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Treating mild strokes with a clot bust drug typically used on more severe strokes could reduce the number of disabled individuals, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in disability costs each year, researchers said last week.



More liberal used of the drug intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) could reduce the number of Americans disabled by mild stroke by 2,000 and slice $200 million off of related costs annually, said study leader Pooja Khatri, MD, an associate professor in the department of neurology at the University of Cincinnati. He and his team presented their findings Wednesday at the International Stroke Conference 2011 in Los Angeles.



Their research is part of a study begun 18 years ago that examined all hospitalized and autopsied cases of stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in a five-county region around Cincinnati. tPA, which is federally approved to treat strokes caused by blood clots (known as ischemic strokes), is the only acute stroke treatment proven to reduce disability. It has not been tested for treating mild stroke because experts have thought that, while patients might experience fewer long-term, lasting effects from their stroke, the treatment also slightly increases the risk of bleeding in the brain. Currently there is no standardized treatment for mild strokes, Khatri said in a published report.



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