Stroke Treatment News

Holly.Lefors at dc.ogilvypr.com Holly.Lefors at dc.ogilvypr.com
Wed May 17 16:54:49 EST 2000


WEB NEWS ALERT:

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a component of
the National Institutes of Health, said today that few eligible stroke
patients receive treatments that can significantly reduce disability and
save lives.

"Two things need to happen in order to ensure that more stroke patients
benefit from treatments that dissolve blood clots in the brain," said John
R. Marler, MD, associate director for clinical trials at NINDS.  "First,
people at risk for stroke and the people around them must know the signs of
stroke.  Then, they must call 911 and get to a hospital quickly.  The
sooner they begin receiving treatment, the better their chances for a
complete recovery."

A list of the signs of stroke and a complete news release follow.  We
encourage you to post this important information on your Web site as a
service to the public.

For additional information please contact Lauren Shaham at (202) 452- 9483.

 _____________________________________________


 NIH News Release


 National Institutes of Health
 National Institute of
 Neurological Disorders and Stroke



 For immediate release: May 17, 2000
 For more information:
 Margo Warren or Paul Girolami, 301-496-5751

 NIH EXPERTS SAY FEW ELIGIBLE STROKE PATIENTS RECEIVE TREATMENTS THAT SAVE
                        LIVES AND REDUCES DISABILITY

 The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a component
 of the National Institutes of Health, said today that few eligible stroke
 patients receive treatments that can significantly reduce disability and
 save lives.

 Gerald D. Fischbach, MD, director of NINDS, said that nearly five years
 after a NINDS clinical trial found that clot busting treatments can reduce
 or even reverse the symptoms of ischemic stroke, the treatment's promise
 is unfulfilled.  The vast majority of patients who might benefit from it
 do not receive it.

 "Again and again we see in research studies that patients do not recognize
 symptoms as stroke and get to the hospital in time," Dr. Fischbach said.
 "This is a crisis of under-utilization that causes unnecessary disability
 and costs millions extra in health care costs."

 Patients who suffer from ischemic strokes, those that cause blood clots in
 the brain, have the most potential of receiving treatments that can reduce
 deaths and disability.  One of the most effective ischemic stroke
 treatments is tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).  Nearly five years ago,
 a NINDS clinical trial found that patients who received t-PA treatment
 within three hours of their initial stroke symptoms were at least 30
 percent more likely than untreated patients to recover from their stroke
 with little or no disability after three months.

 Currently, there is no official national estimate of the percentage of
 ischemic stroke patients who receive thrombolytic treatments.  However,
 numerous research studies in individual communities have concluded that
 about 10 percent or less of eligible stroke patients receive t-PA or other
 treatments, primarily because they arrive at the hospital after the
 three-hour window has closed.  For example, a Cleveland-area study
 published in the March 1, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American
 Medical Association, found that "the rate of IV t-PA use among hospitals
 varied from 0 percent to 10.2 percent of stroke admissions." Katzan,
 et.al., Use of Tissue-Type Plasminogen Activator for Acute Ischemic
 Stroke:  The Cleveland Area Experience. JAMA, March 1, 2000. Vol 283, No.
 9.  Pp. 1151-1158.

 "Two things need to happen in order to ensure that more stroke patients
 benefit from treatments that dissolve blood clots in the brain," said John
 R. Marler, MD, associate director for clinical trials at NINDS.  "First,
 people at risk for stroke and the people around them must know the signs
 of stroke.  Then, they must call 911 and get to a hospital quickly.  The
 sooner they begin receiving treatment, the better their chances for a
 complete recovery."

 The main symptoms of stroke are:

    Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg ? especially on one
    side of the body
    Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
    Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
    Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
    Sudden severe headache with no known cause

 During Stroke Awareness Month in May, NINDS researchers encourage people
 at risk for stroke and their family members, friends and caregivers to
 learn the signs of stroke.  In many cases, because stroke attacks the
 brain, a person experiencing stroke will not realize a stroke is
 occurring.  But the people around them can recognize the symptoms and act
 fast. Candidates can receive certain stroke therapies only if they can
 verify the onset of their symptoms to within three hours of arriving at
 the hospital.

 "Stroke is a condition that is easy to see," said Dr. Marler.  "There are
 few other medical conditions that come on so suddenly and that are so
 noticeable to a bystander.  Many people avoid stroke because they treat
 their high blood pressure and stop smoking.  But of those who do have
 strokes, few receive treatment."

 For more information on stroke, consumers can visit the NINDS web site at
 www.ninds.nih.gov, or they can call 877-562-3434 to receive a brochure on
 stroke.










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