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Women Less Apt to Get Clot-Buster, Study Finds
Date:2/20/2009

Some think gender inequality stems from different stroke symptoms in men and women

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Gender definitely makes a difference when it comes to stroke, new research shows.

Not only can stroke show itself in slightly different fashion in women than it typically does in men, but women also don't get the gold standard of treatment for stroke as often as men do.

Those are two of several findings on women and stroke that were presented Thursday during a news conference at the International Stroke Conference in San Diego.

In one study, Michigan State University researchers reported that women admitted to hospitals with the symptoms of stroke were less likely to be given tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which was approved to treat stroke by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996.

Study author Dr. Archit Bhatt pooled the results of 18 studies published in medical journals between 1995 and 2008. "Women were 30 percent less likely to have tPA compared to men," he said.

He analyzed data on more than 21,000 people who were given tPA, which is administered intravenously. When he looked just at people who got to the hospital within three hours of the start of their stroke symptoms -- the crucial time window within which tPA must be given -- men were still more likely to be given the clot buster, he said. In this subgroup, "women were 19 percent less likely to get tPA than the men," Bhatt said.

More research is needed to figure out what triggers this gender gap, he added.

However, the gender gap in treatment might be narrowing in some ways, said Dr. Louise D. McCullough, director of stroke research and education at the University of Connecticut Health Center and the Stroke Center at Hartford Hospital.

Though some experts have found that women put off getting medical help when a stroke is suspected, McCullough found differently in her resea
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