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ASA: Paramedic Laws in U.S. States Improve Stroke Care

Florida and Massachusetts see increase in number of patients receiving tissue plasminogen activator

THURSDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A Florida law and a Massachusetts regulation that require paramedics to transport suspected ischemic stroke patients who might benefit from tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to the nearest certified or licensed stroke center have increased the number of patients who receive tPA, according to research presented this week at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2007 in San Francisco.

After the Florida law went into effect in 2005, Scott Silliman, M.D., of the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, and colleagues found stroke admission at two certified primary stroke centers increased from an average of 62.3 patients per month to 66.2 patients per month. They also found that the number of ischemic stroke patients who received tPA increased from 3.8 per month to 5.2 per month.

After the Massachusetts regulation went into effect in 2004, Lee Schwamm, M.D, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues found that tPA usage increased from 40 percent to 63.7 percent in eligible patients who arrived at stroke centers within two hours of symptom onset and from 31.2 to 53.3 percent in patients who arrived within three hours.

"Our findings suggest that the Florida Stroke Act improved access within the community to tPA treatment of acute stroke," Silliman said in a statement.

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