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Hospitals can speed stroke treatment, but it's not easy

NPR, April 23, 2014

When a patient who has had a stroke enters the emergency room, it's a race against the clock. Those who receive the clotbusting drug tPA within 60 minutes of experiencing stroke symptoms have the best chance of avoiding brain damage or death, but studies show that only 30 percent of patients eligible for treatment with the drug get it within this "golden hour." But that less-than-stellar response can be sped up, according to studies published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a project called Target: Stroke, launched in 2010 by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, hospitals were recognized if they met a goal of treating 50 percent of stroke patients within an hour after they arrive.