Stroke Care: Most Have Access, Few Get Recommended Treatment
Four out of five people in the United States live within an hour’s drive of a hospital equipped to treat acute stroke — yet very few get recommended treatment, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2014.
Of the more than 370,000 Medicare stroke claims for 2011 that researchers examined:
Only 4 percent received tPA, a drug that can reduce disability if given intravenously within three to four hours after the first stroke symptoms.
Only 0.5 percent had endovascular therapy to reopen clogged arteries.
The study found that within an hour’s driving time:
81% had access to a hospital capable of administering tPA.
66% had access to a primary stroke center.
56% had access to a hospital capable of performing endovascular therapy.
Within an hour by air:
97% percent could reach a tPA-capable hospital.
91% could reach a stroke center.
85% could reach a hospital capable of performing endovascular therapy.
In 2011, 60 percent of U.S. hospitals didn’t administer tPA. These hospitals discharged about 1 in 5 of all stroke patients.
Stroke Campaign Focuses on the Need for Speed
When someone is having a stroke, they need help FAST. The American Stroke Association hopes its new campaign will help people remember the signs of stroke and act quickly. Experts also encourage individuals to note the time symptoms first appear so that tPA, if appropriate, could be administered.
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop?Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Video Game Teaches Kids Stroke Symptoms
Children improved their understanding of stroke symptoms and what to do if they witness a stroke after playing a 15-minute stroke education video game, according to new research reported in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.
“We need to educate the public, including children, about stroke, because often it’s the witness that makes that 9-1-1 call … not the stroke victim. Sometimes, these witnesses are young children,” said Olajide Williams, MD, MS, lead author and associate professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City.
Williams and a team of researchers tested 210 children (9- and 10-year-olds) from low-income homes in the Bronx, New York to measure whether or not they could identify stroke and knew to call 9-1-1 if they witnessed a stroke. The same children were tested again after playing an educational video game, Stroke Hero. Finally, the group was given remote access to the video game and encouraged to play at home. Re-testing of 198 of the children happened seven weeks later.
Children were 33 percent more likely to recognize stroke from a hypothetical scenario and call 9-1-1 after they played the video game. They retained the knowledge when they were re-tested seven weeks later.
Children who continued to play the game remotely were 18 percent more likely to recognize the stroke symptom of sudden imbalance than were the children who played the video game only once.
Ninety percent of the children studied reported they liked playing Stroke Hero.
The video game involves navigating a clot-busting spaceship within an artery, and shooting down blood clots with a clot-busting drug.