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THE DRUG highly touted for its ability to dissolve blood clots in coronary arteries is showing promise as a treatment for severe frostbite and may reduce the need to amputate limbs that have been frozen.
The results of a partially completed pilot study suggest that the thrombolytic agent, recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA; Activase, manufactured by Genentech Inc, South San Francisco, Calif), may help save severely frostbitten limbs by restoring blood flow to the affected areas.
These preliminary findings were presented at the recent 77th annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, Ill, by Steven Sirr, MD, a radiologist now at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minn.
Although the pilot study, which is still under way at Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, appears to have shown dramatic results in four patients who received the therapy, these numbers are too few to leap to any conclusions about
Skolnick AA. Early Data Suggest Clot-Dissolving Drug May Help Save Frostbitten Limbs From Amputation. JAMA. 1992;267(15):2008-2010. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480150014005