Time is the biggest factor in stroke treatment. Intervention within a three-hour "golden window" can minimize most damage to the brain, yet only 22 percent of stroke victims seek help within this time. This is often due to a general misdiagnosis of symptoms, which are often confused with seizures, migraine headaches or even intoxication.
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA)
A new drug called tissue plasminogen activator (or tPA) can arrest the effects of stroke by dissolving clots that block vital blood flow to the brain. The use of the drug is highly contingent on the actions of the stroke victim, as it can be administered during the three-hour "golden window" following the onset of a stroke. tPA was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 and has proven to be an effective treatment of stroke—39 percent of stroke victims who are treated with tPA experienced minimal to no disabilities after three months.
Complications of Stroke
Proper stroke treatment should not only address the initial symptoms but should monitor the recovery of the victim. This is a crucial part of the treatment process, as up to 85 percent of stroke victims exhibit one or more of the following complications during recovery:
Heart attack or heart failure
Infections (pneumonia, urinary tract infections)
Malnutrition or dehydration
Depression (5 percent within one week; 60 percent within three months)
To ensure the immediate treatment of stroke victims, the StrokeSmart Program encourages people to Act F.A.S.T.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.