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New Stroke Therapies Show Promise
Date:2/22/2008

Clot buster works longer than thought, lowering blood pressure limits damage, and vacuum device sucks up clots safely for 8 hours

FRIDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Several new studies point to the promise of new ways to treat different types of stroke.

The research was presented during a teleconference Friday at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in New Orleans.

The first trial found some benefit when tPA, the only approved therapy for acute ischemic stroke, was given outside the usual three-hour treatment window. Patients in this Australian trial who were given tPA three to six hours after having a stroke had increased restoration of blood flow and a smaller area of the brain was deprived of blood. The study was expected to be published in the April issue of The Lancet Neurology, but was released Friday to coincide with the meeting presentation.

Ischemic stroke involves an obstruction in one of the vessels supplying blood to the brain. Currently, "clot busters" are only considered effective for the first three hours after a stroke.

"The issue is that we've got a three-hour label, and can we extend that to six hours," said study author Dr. Stephen M. Davis, of Royal Melbourne Hospital. "Based on our results, it gives a lot of encouragement that you can enrich that population. A lot of people arrive too late, and these are ones we would be targeting."

The findings are enough to warrant further trials but not to change current clinical guidelines just yet.

"This should be viewed as very encouraging, as an intermediate step that's leading to the formation hopefully of a larger study that can be more definitive and that could impact our guidelines significantly," said Dr. Philip Gorelick, moderator of the teleconference and head of the department of neurology and rehabilitation at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

A second study looke
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