Recent Blog Articles

Heart Beat: Extending the time for stroke treatment

Updated: August 01, 2009

Heart Beat

Extending the time for stroke treatment

When a stroke strikes, minutes matter. The faster you recognize a stroke and get to the hospital, the faster treatment can begin. Time lost, as they say, is brain lost.

If the stroke is an ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot blocking the brain, the preferred treatment is administration of a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). But there's a hitch: tPA works best when given soon after symptoms start. For years that meant within three hours of the start of symptoms. Guidelines from the American Stroke Association say it's now okay to give the drug up to four-and-a-half hours after the onset of symptoms (Stroke, published online ahead of print).

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.