Preface: Worldwide, stroke is the second leading cause of death, responsible for 4.4 million ... Each year, 28 percent of people who suffer a stroke are under age 65. Further, "...researchers from the University of Cincinnati found that in 2005, about half of young adults who had a stroke were smokers, and one in five used illicit drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. They found 13 percent of the stroke patients had used drugs or alcohol within 24 hours of their stroke."--NCADD (http://ncadd.org/in-the-news/534-abuse-of-drugs-or-alcohol-linked-to-stroke-early-in-life), making it relevent information for our readership.
AUSTRALIA - People treated with a blood clot dissolving drug within three hours of suffering a stroke have better and faster recovery, a new study published in The Lancet reveals.
The international study, involving more than 6700 stroke patients, found that those who received the drug alteplase had a 75 per cent better outcome if they were treated within the first three hours of a stroke. However, the benefit rapidly declined if treatment was delayed by even a few hours. University of Sydney study co-author Prof Richard Lindley said the study showed that treatment with the drug significantly increased the odds of a good stroke outcome.
“Alteplase is effective in dissolving blood clots in those who have suffered a stroke, and is particularly effective if it is administered within three hours,” he said. “Previously alteplase was deemed ineffective and too risky to treat stroke patients who were elderly, diabetic or had suffered a severe stroke. Doctors were reluctant to use it and these patients were often excluded from treatment.”
But the study found that the drug is an effective emergency treatment for ischaemic stroke patients (strokes caused by blood clots) and should be available irrespective of age, severity, and clinical presentation. “Our data reveals that time is crucial in treating stroke patients — the quicker alteplase is administered, the more effective the treatment,” Prof Lindley said. “This is an important finding considering how disabling a major stroke is for patients, with health outcomes including paralysis, speech impairment, loss of memory and reasoning ability, and coma. While the treatment is not without its risks, the data revealed that the benefits of alteplase occurred despite an increase in the number of early fatal intracranial haemorrhages of about two per cent, Prof Lindley said.
■ Stroke is Australia’s second biggest killer after coronary heart disease and a leading cause of disability
■ A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is restricted, either through a blockage or bleeding. This cuts off the supply of oxygen to the brain causing damage to the affected tissue
■ A stroke may cause paralysis, speech impairment, loss of memory and reasoning ability, coma or death
■ One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime
■ 65 per cent of those living with stroke also suffer a disability that impedes their ability to carry out daily living activities unassisted
■ In 2012 about 50,000 Australians suffered new and recurrent strokes — that is 1000 strokes every week or one stroke every 10 minutes
■ In 2012, the total financial costs of stroke in Australia were estimated to be $5 billion
■ Not all patients are eligible for alteplase therapy, but rates of treatment of about 20 per cent to 30 per cent are achievable if this research is widely implemented.
The Daily Telegraph/ August 7, 2014