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Medical News & Perspectives
April 9, 2008

Rapid Stroke Treatment an Elusive Goal

JAMA. 2008;299(14):1653-1654. doi:10.1001/jama.299.14.1653

New Orleans—Although the availability of thrombolytic therapy in the form of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was seen as a potential milestone in treating ischemic stroke when it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1996, the reality is that few patients receive it. The failure of most individuals experiencing ischemic stroke to recognize their symptoms and promptly seek care, coupled with the delays by emergency departments to deliver timely care when such patients come through their doors, means that only a small proportion (estimated at less than 5%) of eligible patients with stroke receive tPA within the therapeutic window of 3 hours from symptom onset.