A new study, by far the largest analysis of stroke treatment with a clot dissolving drug, demonstrates dramatically the importance of early stroke treatment. A team of physicians from the UCLA stroke center analyzed data from a national database on over 58,000 patients treated with the drug tPA, which is the only FDA approved medication for stroke treatment. Information in this database came from over 1300 hospitals between 2003 and 2012.

The main message is that if the medication is given early after the start of symptoms, there is a greater chance of survival and a better chance of avoiding disability. This is the first time that a lower mortality rate has been associated with earlier treatment. The factor that limits treatment in most cases is the recognition of symptoms by the patient and rapid transport to the hospital.

Time is brain. In the treatment of stroke, every minute counts.

The study is available here: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1697967