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New study shows more time possible for treatment of stroke

Ellen Abbott
A room at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse where stroke is treated

A new study shows that doctors may have more time than previously thought to successfully treat someone who has had a stroke. Doctors at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse see this as a new era in stroke treatment.

During a stroke, brain cells that are cut off from blood flow will ultimately die, which is why physicians urge anyone with stroke symptoms to get treatment within six hours, to effectively remove a stroke-causing blood clot. 

This new study throws that timeline out, finding that one in three patients can be effectively treated as much as 16 hours after a stroke. Upstate Neurologist Hesham Masoud says this is a dramatic breakthrough in stroke care.

"So we’ve gone from one end of the spectrum where ‘Oh, it’s too late, we can’t do anything’ to ‘Oh, my God, this is going to work in one in three patients, are going to be able to go home.’ And the 50 percent reduction of disabling symptoms, it’s a pretty incredible effect,” said Massoud.

In addition to that, new software available at the Upstate's Stroke Center that shows the condition of blood cells in real time, and Masoud says you have more people who will survive a stroke with fewer disabilities.

“The broader implication for this trial is for those centers that will not bring patients or transfer patients to our hospitals for a thrombectomy, to remove a clot, because they think ‘oh this happened six, seven, eight hours ago, so that’s beyond the window, so I won’t do this life saving transfer’, he said.

Masoud expects these new time parameters will become widely adopted going forward. He also emphasizes even with this expanded timeline, it’s very important to get someone with stroke symptoms to a treatment center as soon as possible.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.