Harvard Men's Health Watch

Act quickly to stop stroke damage

A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the critical importance of reaching a hospital as soon as possible after a stroke. When a clot blocks blood flow in the brain, causing an ischemic stroke, timing is everything. The sooner the person receives medication to break up the clot, the less damage occurs. Researchers examined health records of a national sample of over 58,000 people who got a clot-busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), at nearly 1,400 hospitals. Half got the drug within 144 minutes; only 9% were treated within 90 minutes.

It's vital that anyone with signs of stroke get to a hospital as soon as possible, because "time is brain." Once a stroke starts, it continues to damage the brain until blood flow is re-established. Prompt care sharply reduces deaths and disability.

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