A recently developed clot-busting therapy may boost odds of survival in stroke patients affected by one of the condition’s deadliest forms. Phase-3 clinical trials showed that alteplase, or tPA, substantially decreased risk of death in a form of catastrophic bleeding stroke.
Moreover, the new drug also reduced the risk of a stroke patient to develop further disabilities.
The trial results were presented Feb. 18 at the International Stroke Conference in L.A. by a joint team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Issam Awad of the University of Chicago Medicine who led the clinical trial explained that medical research has been seeking a solution to brain hemorrhage in stroke patients for decades. If a stroke leads to massive bleeding in the brain there isn’t much doctors can do.
But the new clot-busting therapy may soon help prevent unnecessary life loss. The latest trial showed that the new drug is very efficient in saving stroke patients’ lives if intraventricular hemorrhage occurs.
Researchers explained that in intraventricular hemorrhage, blood clots in the cavities that otherwise host cerebrospinal fluid, thus, leading to disability and even death.
The trial involved 500 stroke patients from more than 70 health facilities across the globe. Each patient was given a dose of alteplase directly into the brain. The results showed that mortality rates dropped 10 percent when the new drug was administered directly into the patient’s ventricle, while a catheter was used for drainage purposes. In the control group, which was given saline, mortality rates slipped just 3 percent.
Additionally, alteplase doubled the chance of patients with massive bleeding for a full recovery after their clots were removed. Nevertheless, no such outcome was observed in stroke patients with minor clots.
Dr. Awad noted that the new therapy reduces the risk of disability in the wake of a major stroke, and could spell the difference between discharging the patient instead of sending him or her to a nursing home.
In the U.S., 15 percent of strokes are hemorragic. Theses strokes, are caused by torn blood vessels that release blood into brain tissue. Doctors need a quick fix to remove the blood because once it clots it cannot be removed by brain surgery. Plus the extra pressure on the brain tissue often leads to irreparable brain damage and death.
About 50 percent of hemorragic strokes are associated with intraventricular hemorrhage, which has a mortality rate of up to 80 percent.
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