Stroke Standards

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Story Updated: Feb 4, 2013

Each year, approximately 795-thousand Americans suffer a stroke. That means, on average, a stroke happens every 40 seconds.

With that in mind, the experts at the American Heart Association are out with new guidelines to help healthcare professionals speed up treatment.

The key point is to give appropriate patients clot-dissolving therapy, called tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital. tPA must be given no more than 4-and a half hours after the first symptom of stroke. But the faster it's given, the more likely it can dissolve the clot that is causing the problem and minimize damage to the brain.

The new guidelines also recommend transporting stroke patients to certified stroke centers when possible. Or having smaller hospitals partner with larger centers, via telemedicine, to make quicker life saving decisions.

With advances like treatment with tPA, stroke has dropped from third to fourth leading cause of death in the U.S...and that's good news for all.

Signs of stroke include facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties like slurring. If you or anyone you are with exhibit any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news you can use for healthier living.

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