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Study Shows Hospitals Overestimate How Quickly They Administer Clot-Busting Drugs For Stroke Victims

A new study suggests that hospitals routinely overestimate their response time in giving stroke victims a clot-busting treatment to minimize damage.

Researchers asked hospital staff how quickly they administer an intravenous (IV) therapy known as thrombolysis, which helps dissolve clots in stroke patients. The answers were compared to actual times in the stroke registry data, reports Reuters.

The study found that the slower hospitals overestimated their response times the most, and only 29 percent of hospitals actually had an accurate sense of their speed.

“Everyone likes to think they are doing better,” said Dr. Bimhal Shah, a researcher at Duke University School of Medicine and senior author of the study.

Everyone likes to think that they are doing better. Not acting quickly makes the prognosis for stroke patients worse.

Staff from over 140 U.S. hospitals that treated 50,000 stroke victims from 2009 to 2010 were surveyed in the study, according to Tech Times.

Of the nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. that have a stroke every year, 87 percent of those are ischemic. An ischemic stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is blocked, often caused by blood clots.

The treatment, tissue plasminogen activation (tPA), actually works to break down these blood clots to improve blood flow to the brain. tPA is currently the only medication for treating ischemic stroke that is green-lighted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Research shows that patients who receive the treatment quickly have lower odds of short and long-term complications from their stroke. The recommended time to administer tPA to ischemic stroke patients is within one hour of arrival to the hospital.

The study found that while the hospital staff at the lowest performing hospitals generally believed they were giving the treatment to least 20 percent of patients within the one hour time frame, none actually did.

“Our findings indicate the need to routinely provide comparative provider performance rates as a key step to improving the quality of acute stroke care,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Hospitals often overestimate their ability to deliver timely tPA to treated patients. Our findings indicate the need to routinely provide comparative provider performance rates as a key step to improving the quality of acute stroke care.

Strokes can age the brain 7.9 years overnight, according to another study reported on here at Immortal News, which makes timely treatment imperative.

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