Published: Thursday 9 June 2016

Published in the journal, Lancet Neurology, a new study from the University of Oxford suggests that understanding stroke severity, as well as time to treatment, is key to delivering effective and safe thrombolysis care.

Thrombolysis is the use of the 'clot-busting' drug alteplase to help dissolve the blood clot causing an ischaemic stroke (a stroke caused by a blood clot in the brain), and improve the outcome of the patient .  However, use of thrombolysis comes with the risk of a brain bleed, which in some cases could prove fatal.

Dr Dale Webb, Director of Research and Information at the Stroke Association, said: "We welcome this new analysis which adds to the body of evidence suggesting that the benefits of thrombolysis treatment outweigh the risks when given within 4.5 hours of stroke, and which form the basis of current clinical guidelines. The authors further argue that early treatment is especially important for those patients with severe strokes who are at higher risk of a fatal bleed as a result of thrombolysis treatment.” 

"These findings underline the fact that stroke is a medical emergency which requires urgent medical assessment and treatment. If someone thinks they are having a stroke they should call 999 immediately. At the same time, hospitals need to have the best care pathway in place to ensure eligible patients receive thrombolysis treatment as soon as possible.”

To find out more about the study, visit the Nuffield Department of Health, University of Oxford website.

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