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Window of opportunity to treat some stroke patients may be longer than originally suspected
Date:9/27/2011

ntres around the world, he says.

Shuaib's review notes that stroke is the second most common cause of death, with the majority of the 16 million cases happening in developed nations. A lack of blood flow is the primary cause of a stroke. It is typically triggered by a blockage in a brain artery due to arteries thinning from a build-up of plaque, or by a mass from the heart or neck vessels restricting blood flow to the brain.

Normal blood flow in the brain is between 50-60 ml/100g/minute. If someone suffers a stroke and blood flow levels in the brain fall below 10 ml/100g/minute, brain cells die within minutes of the stroke. However, if blood flow in the brain is between 10-20ml/100g/minute, "the neurons cease function but remain structurally intact and are potentially revivable if normal blood flow is restored," Shuaib says in the review.

He further adds that brain cell death after a stroke may not be complete for hours or even days after a stroke, meaning that the window to treat some stroke patients is longer than three hours the standard timeframe that has been referenced in medicine since the 1990s. Shuaib says cell death can be complete within as little as an hour in some people following a stroke, while other patients have viable brain tissue and cells for days or indefinitely after a stroke. And with current imaging technology, physicians can determine whether brain cells are dead or have simply ceased functioning post-stroke.

"What we're recommending is, don't look at the window of time only, look at the important tissue window which may be quite prolonged in many patients," says Shuaib. "Don't just say, 'oh this person had a stroke 4.5 hours ago, end of story.' This person may have very good tissue you could treat."


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Contact: Raquel Maurier
raquel.maurier@ualberta.ca
780-492-5986
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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