Long-term follow-up of patients in a 2014 study confirms that stroke patients recover better if doctors physically remove a clot from a blocked artery instead of just letting the clot-busting drug tPA try to do the job.
The conclusion is based on 500 Dutch patients treated in a landmark study known as MR CLEAN. The findings, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, may encourage more hospitals to adopt the technique.
In earlier results from the study, one third of patients whose treatment included using a device to extract a clot from a brain artery achieved functional independence by the 90-day mark after their strokes compared to 19 percent given usual care.
Now, two years of data show functional independence for 37 percent of patients with clot removal versus 24 percent with clot-busting drugs alone.
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