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Stroke patients more likely to get lifesaving drug at centers - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Stroke patients more likely to get lifesaving drug at certified centers

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

If you suffer a stroke, a new study shows you will be better off if you're close to a certified stroke center.

TPA is the only medication proven effective for treating the type of strokes caused by blood clots that block flow to the brain. If administered within the first few hours, it can dramatically minimize brain damage and a person's ability to function.

A new study shows tPA was used three times more often at primary stroke centers, like Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

"There's primarily two reasons why there's a different process. One is that there's a whole serious of events that have to occur in order to be able to use tPA safely and effectively. So, a clear protocol has to be in place so that everybody knows exactly what they're supposed to do and it get done very quickly. So, hospitals that are really focused on this and do it regularly can do it effectively-- perhaps more frequently," said Dr. Mark Gorman, director of the stroke program at FAHC.

TPA should not be given if a person is having a stroke caused by a brain bleed rather than a clot. The drug is most effective when given within three hours of the first symptoms of a stroke.

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