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AAN: Telephone-Guidance Helps in Rural Stroke Therapy

Remote expert assistance is associated with low rates of intracranial bleeding and death

TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Expert guidance over the telephone can help physicians at rural hospitals safely and effectively administer tissue plasminogen activator to stroke patients, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston.

Anand Vaishnav, M.D., of the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., and colleagues studied 121 stroke patients at a rural community hospital whose treatment with tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, was guided over the telephone by a stroke neurologist at a large hospital.

The researchers found that telephone-guided treatment with tPA was initiated an average of 132 minutes after stroke onset. They also found that the average hospital stay was four days.

"This is less time than the average 144 minutes it took from stroke onset to tPA treatment in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) tPA study, which was a large national study published in 1995," Vaishnav said in a statement. "We also had lower rates of bleeding in the brain [2.5 percent versus 6.4 percent] and death [7.5 percent versus 17 percent] than the original NINDS study."

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