Stroke occurs frequently in the United States, with almost 800,000 people suffering a new or repeat stroke each year.1 It is a common cause of death in this country and a major cause of disability.
Timely treatment of acute ischemic stroke has been shown to significantly reduce disability and mortality.
In-hospital mortality was significantly lower among acute stroke patients who were treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 60 minutes of ED arrival, compared with those who were treated after more than 60 minutes.
A recent study found no benefit to tPA when administered 4.5 hours or more after symptom onset; beyond this time point, the risks associated with the therapy may outweigh the potential benefits.
Current treatment recommendations emphasize the need for rapid evaluation and treatment of patients presenting with symptoms of acute stroke.
Joint American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines call for interpretation of the CT scan within 45 minutes of ED arrival and treatment initiation within 60 minutes.