The Debate Over a Controversial “Clot-Busting” Stroke Medication
A stroke is essentially a “brain attack” that – like a heart attack – occurs when the blood flow to a portion of the brain is cut off. Strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, with about 800,000 people suffering from a stroke each year. It is also estimated that approximately 80% of strokes can be prevented, and even those that are not prevented may be able to have their harmful effects reduced. However, an Illinois medical malpractice case can arise when a stroke is not promptly and competently addressed.
One of the ways that doctors treat a stroke in hopes of reducing its long-term effects is through medication. If medication can be provided to the patient soon enough after the stroke begins, blood may be able to be restored to the brain, reducing the chance of permanent disability or death.
Over the past few years, there has been a vigorous debate over the use of one stroke medication in particular, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). According to those in favor of TPA, the drug acts as a clot-buster, opening blocked blood vessels and allowing blood to return to the brain. A recent news article discusses TPA, as well as the fact that despite having been around for over 20 years, it is still not commonly used to treat stroke victims.