Most People Cant Identify Stroke Symptoms

ired ability to communicate or recognize symptoms themselves, people of all ages who might witness a stroke should also know this.

Since the Cincinnati area has been involved in a number of highly publicized stroke studies, the local population was frequently exposed to information about stroke warning signs, symptoms, and emergency treatment. Therefore, a study in Cincinnati may underestimate the lack of knowledge about stroke in other cities where less stroke research has been conducted and publicized.

The NINDS rt-PA Stroke Study Group reported in a December 1995 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine that t-PA, a clot-busting drug, is an effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke if given within the first 3 hours of stroke symptoms. Patients treated with t-PA were up to 30 percent more likely to recover from a stroke with little or no disability. Since the study was published, the challenge has been informing the public that stroke is an emergency requiring immediate transport to an emergency department. Although t-PA is the only drug currently approved by the FDA for treatment of acute stroke, other therapies being developed may also work better when given as soon as possible.

In December, 1996 the NINDS hosted a historic Symposium on Rapid Identification and Treatment of Acute Stroke, attended by representatives of more than 50 organizations concerned with stroke care who developed consensus on methods of delivering immediate treatment to stroke patients. The proceedings from this symposium are now available and have been sent to thousands of health care practitioners nationwide.

The NINDS, one of the National Institutes of Health located in Bethesda, Maryland, is the nation's leading supporter of research on the brain and nervous system and is a lead agency for the Congressionally designated Decade of the Brain.

*Pancioli, A., Broderick, J., Kothari, R., Brott, T., Tuchfarber, A., Miller, R., Khoury, J., Jauch, E. Public perc

Contact: Margo Warren
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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