Treating Stroke Just 15 Minutes Earlier Reduces Deaths and Disability

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Acting fast is crucial when someone has a stroke, but a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that getting stroke treatment just 15 minutes faster can lower the risk for disability and death.

The researchers analyzed the medical data of 6,756 patients (average age, 69.5) who’d had an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes occur when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed. The researchers found that for every 1,000 people treated 15 minutes faster, 15 fewer people died or were discharged to hospice care. Additionally, 17 more could walk out of the hospital without help, and 22 more could care for themselves after being discharged.

WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW: The average time between arriving at the hospital to the start of endovascular therapy was 87 minutes, in part because of testing times, staffing issues, and other factors. Treatment was most delayed when patients arrived during “off hours”—weekends, holidays, or before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays. The findings were published in the July 16, 2019 issue of JAMA.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Know how to recognize the signs of stroke, so you can take action quickly. Use the acronym “FAST” to remember them:

  • F is for face drooping.
  • A is for arm weakness.
  • S is for speech difficulty.
  • T is for time to call 911.

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