Cincinnati—A study published in the June 10 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine
found that patients who were treated with tissue plasminogen activator
(t-PA) within three hours after the onset of symptoms of acute ischemic
stroke were at least 30 percent more likely than patients who received
placebo to have minimal or no disability 12 months after the stroke.
This research study is a follow-up project to the 1995 National
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke study that showed the
short-term benefits of t-PA in stroke treatment.
"The first study
demonstrated the short-term benefit of t-PA in patients experiencing
acute ischemic strokes," says Joseph P. Broderick, MD, professor of
neurology at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine,
co-author of the follow-up study, and member of the Greater
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team. "This follow-up study shows
the long-term effectiveness of this treatment in lessening the severity
of disabilities caused by strokes."
The researchers collected
outcome information from 624 patients who participated in the 1995
study. Of the patients, 150 were treated by the Greater
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky stroke team. The outcome comparison also
revealed no significant difference in 12 month mortality rates between
the two groups. The rate of recurrent stroke at 12 months was also
similar for the patients who received t-PA and those that received the
These new results show a long-term benefit of t-PA for
patients. These results also led researchers to credit t-PA with
reducing health care costs and improving the quality of life for
patients who receive this new treatment.