Ischaemic stroke can result in approximately 2 million brain neurones being damaged for each minute that it is left untreated. Various trials and studies such as the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders (NINDS) trial, the European Cooperative Acute Stroke Study (ECASS), ECASS II, and the Alteplase Thrombolysis for Acute Noninterventional Therapy in Ischemic Stroke (ATLANTIS) study have clearly demonstrated the beneficial effects of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for treatment of acute stroke.
Therefore to minimise damage and improve clinical outcome, we need to identify patients who present within 4.5 hours of symptom onset and reduce the time taken to adminster a thrombolytic agent. This time is commonly referred to as the ‘door to needle’ (DTN) time.
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