Potential stroke victims in Central New York and their families can rest a little easier thanks to the findings of a new study that has broadened the timeframe for stroke treatment. The study determined patients can seek treatment for up to 24 hours following a stroke. Thanks to a new technology called RAPID, doctors can scan the brain for salvageable brain tissue in minutes, a process that previously took up to 40 minutes and was unreliable. Interventional Neurologist at Upstate Medical Center Hesham Masoud says the combination of the bigger window and faster treatment is equivalent to a defibrillator for heart attacks or penicillin for infections.
“I think the broader implication for this trial is for those centers that will not transfer patients to our hospitals for thrombectomy, meaning to get out the clot, because they think, ‘Oh well. This happened six or seven, eight hours ago, so that’s beyond the window, so I won’t do this life saving transfer.’”
Before RAPID, patients had roughly six hours to get from their homes to the hospital and receive treatment. Masoud says this technology will allow one in three patients to go home after having their stroke.
“This is an opportunity to identify more patients that can benefit from this treatment. In a group where it was thought to be that these patients did not have options, we’re seeing that not only do they have options, but that this is a huge treatment effect.”
While this new window is promising for stroke victims, Kristy Smorol with the American Heart Association says it is still important to come to the hospital as fast as possible after having had a stroke.
“We still want that urgency to be there. We still want people to get to the hospital as soon as they can. If that 24 hour window is helpful, that’s wonderful, but the longer you wait - even if it’s within those 24 hours - the less effective the procedure will be. Every minute counts.”
She advises people to look for drooping in the face, weakness in the arm, and difficulty speaking. If any of these symptoms pervade, call 911 immediately.