THURSDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A growing number of
neurology residents in the United States feel comfortable using the
clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to treat
stroke patients with acute ischemic stroke, a new study finds.
An ischemic stroke is caused by blocked blood flow to the
Researchers found that the proportion of neurology residents who
say they're comfortable using tPA rose from 73 percent in 2000 to
94 percent in 2010.
"This is good news," senior author Dr. Brett Cucchiara, an assistant professor of neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, said in a journal news release.
"It is imperative that neurology residents attain a level of comfort using tPA that will allow them to use the medication effectively in their clinical practice and guide other physicians in its use," Cucchiara noted.
Even though there is evidence that administering tPA within 3 to
4.5 hours after a patient first experiences symptoms of an acute
ischemic stroke can reduce disability caused by a stroke, less than
10 percent of these patients currently receive tPA treatment. Lack
of physician confidence in using the treatment is one of the
reasons for this low rate, according to the study.
The study also reported that 95 percent of 286 neurology
residents who were surveyed in 2010 said they had used tPA,
compared with 80 percent in an earlier survey. Of the 95 percent
who had used tPA, 59 percent said they gave it to a patient at
least once without direct faculty supervision.
The study is published in the current issue of the journal
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about