A new study has demonstrated that some strokes may be treated later than was previously thought. The EXTEND study, performed in Australia, treated patients with the clot dissolving medication Alteplase (tPA) between 4.5 and 9 hours after the start of the stroke, including patients that noticed their symptoms after waking from sleep. More patients who were treated avoided disability.

What was different about this study? Previously, treatment was Alteplase was originally recommended only up to 3 hours after stroke. This was extended to 4.5 hours for some patients about ten years ago.

What is different is that patients are being selected for treatment based on the results of what is called advanced imaging. A special type of CT scan, with analysis by sophisticated new software. This software is able to help stroke specialists learn which patients may benefit.

More studies will be necessary to verify these results, and hopefully allow doctors around the world to extend this treatment to suitable patients.