Stroke patients do better in dedicated stroke centers

Stroke patients recover better when they're taken straight to designated stroke centers, as they're more likely to receive clot-busting medicine tPA than those who are simply routed to whichever hospital is nearby, according to a study of a Canadian program that screens and routes stroke patients to specialized centers.

The study looked at a citywide program instituted in Toronto under which paramedics began screening for stroke and taking stroke patients to the area's three regional stroke centers. To determine how effective this approach had been in helping the patients, researchers looked at the effect it had on patients at one of the centers.

The researchers found that during the first four months of the program, the percentage of stroke patients arriving at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in under two and half hours after their episode grew from 30 percent during the same four-month period in the previous year, to 49 percent this year. That resulted in a four-fold jump in the number of overall patients treated with tPA.

With the increase in tPA treatment, and faster tPA administration times, the average hospital stay for stroke patients fell from five to four days.

To learn more about the study:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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