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A 58-year-old female asked:

why didn't they give my dad the life saving drug to stop a severe stroke? my dad was visiting me in phx a couple of years ago. he started having symptoms of a stroke so i rushed him the three miles to del web hospital. the nurses said i did real good in g

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 41 years experience
Strokes : Strokes can be caused by either a clot or a bleed in the brain. When your father presented in the er with symptoms of a stroke, the following factors would have been considered prior to treating a stroke: last known well (lkw) - the time he started showing signs of stroke, results of a brain cat scan and determination of type of stroke. Time is of essence when treating a stroke. If the stroke is related to a clot, there is a window of opportunity (typically withing 2-3 hours of lkw) where the drugs given to treat stroke can be given and be effective. If this window of opportuity is missed, then the drug cannot be given. There are procedures that can be done to remove clots during stroke. It does not sound like that route was taken. Also, it is always recommended that when stroke symptoms are observed, to call 911. Time is saved when 911 is called, as opposed to driving your loved one yourself. Talk to your doctor about the events that occurred in the ed to answer your questions. It is recommended that you review your father's medical record with the doctor to understand why he/she made certain medical decisions. It is also appropriate to call the risk management department of the hospital as they can help facilitate medical review.
Dr. Georgianne Snowden
Interventional Radiology 34 years experience
Many possibilities: There are many many possibilities. He may have had one of many contraindications to receiving the clot busting medicine (tpa). He may have presented after the (then) 3 hour window for giving the medicine, etc. Hard to know for sure without knowing his entire history, vital signs and stroke scale at presentation.
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Sorry for outcome: Alteplase (t-pa) is not always so life saving, and may actually result in significant brain hemorrhage. There is a time window, of about 4.5 hrs, and several contra-indications re this item, so, cannot answer your question fully without knowledge of information available at time of stroke. You should realize that if a severe stroke is already apparent on imaging, that t-pa is not successful.

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