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Stroke Health Center

Many Strokes Occur in Sleep, Preventing Treatment

Study Shows 14% of Strokes Are So-Called ‘Wake-Up’ Strokes
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‘Wake-Up’ Strokes vs. Strokes While Awake continued...

Many of those in the study with wake-up strokes would have been eligible for clot-busting drug treatment if the time of onset of symptoms had been available. The study says that of the 273 people who had wake-up strokes, at least a third would have been eligible for this critical treatment.

“This is a group of patients that should be a focus for future studies,” Mackey says. “It’s likely that some of these strokes occurred immediately prior to awakening, and people would benefit from treatment.”

Clot-Busting Drug

Treatment with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only medication approved by the FDA for treatment of ischemic stroke.

“Wake-up strokes constitute a significant percentage of ischemic strokes and are ineligible for thrombolytic therapy due to the current time-based restrictions, which is unfortunate because it is likely that some of the events occurred immediately prior to awakening,” the researchers write. “Efforts are ongoing to develop better methods of identifying those patients most likely to benefit from treatment while at the same time minimizing exposure to undue risk.”

Mackey says he received support from the National Institutes of Health. Many of the other researchers involved in the study disclose that they have received financial support from pharmaceutical companies.

According to the National Stroke Association, stroke symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg -- especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, difficulty in seeing in one or both eyes, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, and sudden severe headache with no known cause.

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