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The success of a trial of thrombolytic treatment with Actilyse (alteplase) may double the number of stroke patients receiving it, according to Professor Werner Hacke at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
He predicts that the new treatment, which significantly reduces the risk of patients with mild to moderate stroke being left with any residual disability, will very quickly be incorporated into treatment guidelines.
The ECASS 3 (European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study) programme randomised 821 stroke patients to alteplase or placebo, in addition to standard therapy, when treatment was initiated between three and four-and-a-half hours after stroke onset.
Results showed that patients treated with alteplase gained a 34% improvement in the odds of recovering with no residual disability (modified Rankin Score 0-1) at 90 days after their stroke, compared with those given placebo (52.4% vs 45.2%).
Professor Hacke said: “The new data show that stroke can be effectively managed also in patients who are unable to reach a stroke centre within three hours. A large group of patients currently excluded by the three-hour limit may benefit from this therapy.”
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