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February 2, 2013

American Stroke Association: Quick action key to stroke treatment

New guidelines recommend therapy within 60 minutes of hospital arrival

(Continued)

"However, for patients brought to hospitals without specialized stroke expertise, telemedicine can provide real-time access to expertise," Jauch said. "If such a hospital partners with a primary or comprehensive stroke center and uses telemedicine, early treatment decisions can be made for patients. If the patient had to be transferred before administering some therapies, it would be too late."

Other key recommendations in the new guidelines include:

  • Multidisciplinary quality improvement (QI) committees should be created within hospitals to review and monitor stroke care quality. "We now have dozens of studies showing the benefit of QI programs," Jauch said.
  • Recently introduced stent retrievers could potentially remove large blood clots more completely and quickly than tPA. But the devices shouldn't be a substitute for intravenous tPA and should only be used in clinical studies to determine if they improve patient outcomes.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke:

  • Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
  • Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?
  • Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred, are you unable to speak, or are you hard to understand?
  • Time to call 9-1-1: If you have any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get to the hospital immediately.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

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