The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has established a new guideline, based on European studies, concerning when a clot-busting drug known as tPA can be given intravenously to stroke victims. Previously, the guideline in America was to provide the drug only within three hours of the onset of symptoms,; otherwise, it could do more harm than good. This posed a problem to patients who, for one reason or another, could not get to a hospital quickly enough following the start of stroke symptoms. The new guideline extends the time in which the drug can be administered to four and one-half hours after symptoms begin.
It is important, however, to recognize that the widening of the window does not mean that doctors should act slowly when treating patients with stroke symptoms. The faster the clot in the brain is relieved, thereby restoring normal blood flow, the greater the likelihood of recovery.
The following is the American Stroke Association’s list of “warning signs of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause”
If experiencing any of the warning signs of stroke, seek immediate medical attention, as time is of the essence.
Our firm has experience pursing cases for patients that involve tragic medication or other medical errors. If you think your providers have ignored your symptoms, we encourage you to read an article regarding medical malpractice authored by senior partner Salvatore Zambri.
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