Good News for Oldest Stroke Victims
If you're a Boomer with an older spouse, or a Boomer charged with caregiving for elderly parents, listen up. An FDA-approved stroke treatment that the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association does not recommend for patients older than 80 has been shown to be effective for that age group.
According to MedPage Today, lead researcher Peter Sandercock, DM from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said that in his recent study, a subgroup analysis of 1,617 patients older than 80 suggested "greater benefit" from recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in these patients, "contrary to expectations." The benefits were greatest iftreatment was administered within 3 hours, and that result did not appear to be lessened for elderly patients.
Not only that, but MedPage Today reports that a second study by Joanna M. Wardlaw, MD and colleagues, also from the University of Edinburgh, corroborated that finding. Both of the studies were published May 23rd online in The Lancet.
In an accompanying editorial, Didier Leys, MD and Charlotte Cordonnier, MD from Roger Salengro Hospital in Lille, France wrote that Wardlaw's team "found no difference in the number of events between those older and younger than 80, whether treated with thrombolysis or placebo."
They added, "[T]he role of stroke and emergency physicians is now not to identify patients who will be given rt-PA, but to identify the few who will not."
MedPage Today quotes the investigators as suggesting that the "small gains in functional ability by 3 to 6 months" could reduce healthcare costs in the long term due to "survival free of disability."
Oh, and those gains would obviously improve quality of life as well!