Stroke and the Need for Speed
Stroke is the number four killer in the United States. Faster treatment helps save lives, but faster treatment may also be quantified, thanks to a study at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Atte Meretoia discovered that for every 15 minutes quicker that treatment is received, a month can be added to the patient's life. The faster tissue plasminogin activator (tPA) is delivered, the better the outcomes. The standard 4 or 4.5 hours may not be the standard much longer, giving way to as soon as possible.
The secret seems to be that the faster the drug is delivered, the more tissue and blood flow is restored to a nearly normal state. This means that not only elderly folks who we typically think of as stroke patients, but younger people, too, can benefit from quicker administration of tPA.
In my opinion, we need to get on board with Australia and get tPA to our patients as quickly as possible. This is another reason why every hospital should have quick reaction teams specifically designed for the treatment of stroke and other deadly events we see in our emergency rooms. The teams can react quickly with protocols designed to improve efficiency and reaction times, giving our patients better outcomes and prognoses. The United States needs to do studies and get this standard into every emergency room in the country as soon as possible.
That's just my opinion,
Jim Thacker, MBA, MHA, CRT, AE-C