ENGLEWOOD, Colo., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Three quarters of a million
Americans will have a stroke or brain attack this year, according to the
National Stroke Association. Today researchers from the University of
Washington School of Medicine reported findings that suggest that not all
stroke patients have equal access to the only Federal Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) approved acute ischemic stroke treatment. The report was
released during the 5th International Stroke Society World Congress in
It is estimated that 80 percent of strokes are ischemic, where a clot
causing a stroke blocks an artery or blood vessel. There is currently only
one FDA approved "clot buster" medication called tissue plasminogen activator
(t-PA). This drug must be administered within three hours of the first stroke
symptom. The Washington researchers looked at hospital discharge data of
26,069 stroke patients over the age of 45 in Washington State from 1999-2002.
The records indicated 306 patients (1.2%) were treated with t-PA.
In the review, female ischemic stroke patients received the drug
significantly less often than men. The odds ratio for female stroke treatment
with t-PA is 0.72. The study also reported elderly patients were 28 percent
less likely to be treated with t-PA for every decade older than 45 years of
age. Patients on Medicaid were about half as likely to get t-PA compared to
The study showed a trend that hospitals treating more ischemic stroke
patients were more likely to give t-PA therapy.
"This study suggests there may be unequal access to t-PA therapy for acute
ischemic stroke based on age, gender, type of medical insurance and the amount
of stroke care given at a hospital. Further research needs to be done to
confirm and possibly explain these findings. Similar disparities in access
may exist nationwide and could have implications for stroke triage in
National Stroke Association wants patients to ask their doctors about the
latest in stroke treatment and which hospitals in their area have the greatest
expertise in treating stroke.
Based in Englewood, Colo., National Stroke Association is a leading,
independent national nonprofit organization devoting 100 percent of its
efforts and resources to stroke. For more information contact NSA at
1-800-STROKES (767-6537) or visit www.stroke.org.
SOURCE National Stroke Association