A citywide policy enacted in 2011 — involving Chicago ambulance crews taking suspected stroke patients directly to accredited hospitals with accredited stroke centers — was associated with increased usage of a therapy that can reverse the effects of a stroke if received in time, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Neurology on Monday.
Before the change, rates of stroke patients getting what’s known as intravenous tPa was 3.8 percent of all patients. After, it improved to 10.1 percent.
Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPa) is used to restore blood flow through blocked arteries that occurs when someone has an acute ischemic stroke. But it needs to be administered within 4.5 hours of the time a stroke happens in order to be effective.
The study, led by Dr. Shyam Prabhakaran at Northwestern University, is the best indication yet that the creation of an established stroke system in Chicago has had a positive effect on stroke patients.
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