LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest treating mild strokes with the same clot-busting drug approved for severe strokes.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati, led by Dr. Pooja Khatri, say treating mild strokes with the clot-busting drug intravenous tissue plasminogen activator could prevent disabilities suffered by those with mild strokes.
However, this clot-busting treatment remains untested for mild stroke because of the belief patients recover with few lasting effects and tPA's slight but significant risk of bleeding to the brain.
Khatri and colleagues found out of the 243 mild stroke patients in the study, 150 were identified as likely candidates for the drug if the mildness of their stroke was disregarded as reason to deny them tPA treatment.
Excluding the 37 percent of patients with baseline disability, they say 8 percent to 13 percent of remaining patients would regain independence after their stroke had tPA been effectively used.
Extrapolating to the U.S. population, the use of tPA for mild stroke could prevent at least 2,000 patients from becoming disabled. Assuming a moderate disability and conservatively estimating a lifetime cost of $100,000 per patient, this would save at least $200 million in disability costs, the study says.
The findings were presented in Los Angeles at the annual meeting of the American Stroke Association.