MAY 18, 2017 10:56 AM PDT

Removing Blood Clots More Than Six Hours After Stroke is Still Effective

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

While current guidelines for acute stroke treatment indicate that removing brain clots should only be done within six hours of the stroke, a new study suggests that the procedure is safe and effective as much as 24 hours after the stroke. Further confirmation of these findings could greatly increase the number of stroke patients receiving care that could improve their quality of life following recovery.

Credit: southof64.com

Endovascular treatment (ET), also known as a mechanical thrombectomy, includes the use of a stent retriever device to physically remove a large blood clot to open up a blocked artery in the brain. In addition to stating the procedure be done within six hours of the first stroke symptoms, current guidelines state that a stroke patient should also first receive a medication treatment of alteplase. This is a “tissue plasminogen activator” medication, the only treatment for ischemic stroke approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Guidelines state that alteplase should be given within three to four hours after the stroke. The drug breaks down blood clots and makes room for blood to flow back to the brain.

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences researchers conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial to question the parameters of the current guidelines. Stroke patients who “arrived at the hospital outside the six-hour time window” were randomly assigned to either receive ET or just standard medical therapy, which consists of receiving drugs to dissolve clots.

At 90 days post-treatment, about half of the stroke patients who received ET had recovered well, indicating they were independently able to take care of themselves. Only 13 percent of the group who just received drugs recovered as well.

Before the study was finished as planned - the researchers originally planned on enrolling 500 study participants - the data showed so clearly the benefit of performing ET outside of the six-hour window that the study was terminated, so all patients would have the chance of receiving ET in addition to clot-dissolving drugs.

Co-leader of the study, Tudor Jovin, MD, stresses that it’s still important for a stroke patient to receive care as soon as possible - their new finding does not indicate that it’s safe to wait for treatment. “The mantra "time is brain" still holds,” Jovin explained. “However, our study shows that even if treated outside the time window, patients will have significantly reduced disability with clot removal.”

Sources: American Stroke Association, University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

 

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
FEB 06, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 06, 2020
Scientists Found a Safe BPA Alternative
BPA—bisphenol A—is an industrial chemical used in a wide range of everyday consumer products. From food and beverage can linings and storage co...
FEB 12, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
FEB 12, 2020
Insurance for Cannabis? Coverage Remains Elusive
Cannabis use can carry a variety of benefits and risks for recreational consumers, patients, doctors and businesses. And where there is risk, there is ofte...
FEB 11, 2020
Cancer
FEB 11, 2020
Could we be over-diagnosing cancer?
Roughly one in every two people are estimated to receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives, but are all of those diagnoses valid? New researc...
FEB 21, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 21, 2020
Longer Sitting Times Linked to Developing Heart Disease
Longer sitting times has been associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease among overweight and obese women following menopause. For the study...
FEB 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 24, 2020
Breast Cancer Screening, without the Radiation
Researchers from the University of Waterloo have developed a prototype of a novel technology that is capable of screening for breast cancer without using r...
FEB 28, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 28, 2020
How Dietary Supplement Citicoline Improves Memory
For some time now, Citicoline has been known for its ability to improve memory and reduce cognitive decline. A primary ingredient in many pre-made nootropi...
Loading Comments...