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Study shows thrombolysis risk is no higher for older stroke patients

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Older stroke patients are at no greater risk of bleeding after thrombolysis than younger ones, according to a study.

The findings came out of a study examining the Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme’s (SINAP) data. It looked at whether stroke patients aged 80 and over were being treated with clot-busting thrombolysis medicines and what the outcomes were compared to younger people.

SINAP collected information on the quality of care stroke patients get during their first three days after admission to the 107 English hospitals which took part in the audit.

Published in Age and Ageing, the study involved more than 37,000 stroke patients in England.

It found nearly a fifth of patients being treated with thrombolysis medicine were over 80 but were at no higher risk of complications, such as bleeding in the brain, than younger ones.

With the treatment more effective when it’s administered as quickly as possible, the study found older patients were being treated as swiftly as younger ones.

It found older stroke patients at hospitals participating in SINAP were getting thrombolysis treatment frequently and safely.

However, the study also said more research was needed to find ways to cut mortality rates in older people after finding that older patients were generally at greater risk of death after a stroke than younger ones.

Until recently randomised controlled trials of thrombolysis treatment included only a handful of older patients.

<> (doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs167)

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