Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study shows that removing the blood clot that causes a stroke may improve odds of limiting disability caused by that stroke.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, notes that while intravenous alteplase — used to break down blood clots — within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms is the only therapy with proof of efficacy, intraarterial therapy — including the retrieval of the clot — may be more effective at preventing disability.
Researchers at 16 facilities in the Netherlands looked at 500 participants whose average age was 65 years old with acute ischemic stroke. Approximately 90 percent were treated with clot-dissolving drugs, and half of the participants were also treated using a clot-removing device. Each patient was treated within six hours of the start of their symptoms.
Three months after treatment, nearly 33 percent of those given both the clot-busting drug and the clot-removing devices were functionally independent. Only about 19 percent of those treated only with the clot-busting drug met that same standard.
Researchers also said that there was no significant difference in the mortality rate of patients studied whether they received the clot-dissolving medication and had the clot removed, or only received the medication.
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