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ASA: Most U.S. Hospitals Don't Offer tPA Therapy

Only 0.9 percent of hospitals report treatment rates above 10 percent

FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly two-thirds of the nation's hospitals do not report treating acute ischemic stroke patients with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator, leaving many Americans without access to the brain-saving therapy, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference held Feb. 17 to 20 in San Diego.

Dawn Kleindorfer, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,750 hospitals in the MEDPAR database -- a claims-based data set that contains every fee-for-service Medicare-eligible hospital discharge in the U.S. During the two-year study period, the hospitals admitted 495,186 ischemic stroke patients.

The researchers found that 64 percent of hospitals -- mostly smaller hospitals with an average bed size of 95 -- had no reported treatments with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator and that only 0.9 percent of hospitals reported treatment rates above 10 percent. They also found that 40 percent of the U.S. population lives in counties without a hospital that administers recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator to at least 2.4 percent of ischemic stroke patients.

"Such national-based resource-utilization data is important for planning at the local and national level, especially for such initiatives as telemedicine, to reach underserved areas," the authors write.

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