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The True Impact of Early Treatment for Stroke

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Time is precious -- maybe most of all for those who need medical care after a stroke. Though we've long known that speed was crucial when treating patients for stroke, now experts are telling us just how dramatic a difference prompt care can make.


A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows us that every minute that passes after a patient suffers a stroke can mean the difference in walking, talking, living unassisted and staying alive.


Reviewing records of almost 60,000 stroke patients at nearly 1,400 hospitals, experts at UCLA found that for every 15 minutes sooner that a patient gets treatment there is a four-percent reduction of stroke symptoms and risk of death, a three-percent improved chance of returning home, and a four-percent better chance of walking home instead of needing a wheelchair.

Strokes are the number-one cause of disability in the U.S., and the number-four cause of death. Neurologists have known that treatment within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms improved outcomes, but this study is the first to quantify how much improvement a person can get.


The study's authors hope their review hastens efforts to get stroke patients to a hospital and begin therapy as soon as possible.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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