London: A new study has found that patients, who are given a clot-busting drug within six hours of a stroke, are more likely to have a good quality of life 18 months afterwards.

However, the review of more than 3,000 patients found that ‘alteplase’ offered no improvement in survival rates.
The drug is increasingly being used in specialist stroke units in the UK. The Stroke Association said the Lancet Neurology research was encouraging. The treatment is given to patients who have had an ischemic stroke when the brain's blood supply is interrupted by a clot.

This international trial, led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, followed patients from 12 different countries - half had the alteplase treatment, which is given intravenously, and half did not.

The researchers suggest that for every 1,000 patients given the drug within six hours of stroke, by 18 months, 36 more will be able to manage independently and will have less pain and discomfort than if they had not had it.
However, it carries a risk of causing a potentially fatal bleed in the brain in the first week after treatment for around three in 100 patients. The experts behind the study say patients and their families have to weigh up the risks as well as the potential benefits.


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