Advances in Health: Treatment Window Expanded for Stroke

A groundbreaking new study is helping patients around the world – by increasing the window of time for treatment for people who have had an ischemic stroke, greatly reducing disability and improving outcomes.

Results from the DAWN stroke trial released in the New England Journal of Medicine show a specific group of patients suffering a major ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot blocking blood flow to the brain) recovered significantly better with removal of the blood clot accompanied by medical therapy compared to patients who received only medical therapy initiated up to 24 hours after the stroke. The study was sponsored by medical technology and equipment company Stryker, which manufacturers one of the devices used for clot removal.

Hartford Hospital, which is now using this advanced stroke protocol, anticipates that other facilities within the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute will use it in the near future.

The study is especially good news for patients who suffer a “wake up” stroke, a stroke that occurs during sleep in which the time of symptom onset can’t be firmly identified.

“The DAWN study will be transformational for stroke patients because we will be able to treat people up to 24 hours after stroke on set. This greatly increases the chances that they can recover and have a full and productive life,” says Dr. Mark Alberts, Physician-in-Chief of the Hartford Health Care Ayer Neuroscience Institute. “For their families this means that their loved ones have a better chance of returning home after their stroke as opposed to being in a nursing home for the rest of their life. What this means for our patients is that we will be able to provide this new treatment throughout the state and region on a 24/7 basis and improve outcomes.”

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