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Stroke risk cut by fast treatment

9th October 2007

Research has shown that the rapid treatment of minor strokes can reduce the danger of a major stroke by 80%.

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Researchers have said this could stop nearly 10,000 strokes annually in the UK. The government is currently looking at plans for a National Stroke Strategy.

An Oxford's Radcliffe study, published in The Lancet, discovered if drugs were promptly administered to a patient then the risk of a major stroke was greatly reduced. The current risk of a major stoke within a month of a minor stroke is 10%.

Minor strokes are known as transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) and cause similar symptoms to a full-blown stroke. However, the symptoms usually stop after a few hours. These mini-strokes can precede major strokes.

During the first stage of the research, 310 patients waited, on average, for three days to be assessed and received treatment in an an average of 20 days. Of these patients, 10.3% had a full stroke within 90 days of looking for medical treatment.

In the second stage, 281 patients received both assessment and treatment in one day. The occurrence of major strokes within 90 days in this group fell to 2.1%.

A different study by a French team in Paris showed that treatment within 24 hours cut the risk of a stroke by nearly 80%.

Joe Korner of the Stroke Association said the research "clearly shows that thousands of people could be saved from life shattering strokes every year, simply by making sure that everyone who has a TIA or minor stroke gets currently available treatment quickly."

 


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