Acting fast is crucial when someone has a stroke. Now a study from the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that shaving even 15 minutes off of the time it takes to treat a stroke patient can lower his or her risk for disability and death.
The researchers analyzed the medical data of 6,756 patients (average age, 69.5) who’d had a stroke. They found that for every 1,000 people treated 15 minutes faster, 15 fewer people died or were discharged to hospice care. Additionally, 17 more could walk out of the hospital without help, and 22 more could care for themselves after being discharged.
The average time between arriving at the hospital to the start of endovascular (clot-dissolving) therapy was 87 minutes, in part because of testing times, staffing issues, and other factors. Treatment was most delayed when patients arrived during “off hours”—weekends, holidays, or before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
The research was published in July 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
What you should know
Know how to recognize the signs of stroke, so you can take action quickly. Use the acronym “FAST” to remember them:
- F is for face drooping.
- A is for arm weakness.
- S is for speech difficulty.
- T is for time to call 911.
This article first appeared in the November 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.
Also see 13 Key Facts About Strokes.