Researchers from the International Stroke Trial 3; have released results from the worlds largest ever trial of the clot busting drug rt-PA. Published today concurrently in the Lancet, and presented at the European Stroke Conference in Lisbon.
The IST-3 trial found patients receiving clot-busting drugs have a better chance of survival and avoiding disability. In patients over 80, a previously untreated group in the European Union, the use of rt-PA will dramatically increase their survival rates post stroke.
Research has found patients under 80 benefit from rt-PA when treated within four and a half hours of stroke. Co investigator Richard Lindley, Professor of Geriatric Medicine from the University of Sydney’s Medical School is adamant ‘Please don’t ignore the over 80s – they benefit hugely’.
|Richard Lindley, Joanna Wardlaw and Michael Hennerici at todays ESC announcement|
The trial found fatal bleeding was a risk factor associated with rt-PA use within the first week of treatment, although the researchers insist that the early hazard is greatly outweighed by the late substantial benefit. Dr Lindley insists that in his practical experience patients over 80 have an extremely high risk of death after stoke within the six month period indicated and that the risk of rt-PA bleed is minimal compared to the risk of no treatment at all.
This latest study sought to establish rt-PA treatment as effective in patients over 80, and it has done exactly that. As the population ages and age becomes a primary risk factor in Australia these treatments will be able to alleviate the extreme costs of stroke on the community and increase quality of life for stroke patients.
IST-3 Imaging Lead Professor Joanna Wardlaw for the University of Edinburgh Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, is also pushing for better managed clinical windows so that patients can access rt-PA within the required time, ‘the faster you treat the better the outcome’ she said ‘ and faster treatment will result from better communication (among health workers)’.
Managing Editor the International Journal of Stroke
Attending the European Stroke Conference, Lisbon, Portugal