Score Pinpoints Clot-buster Success

Stroke patients respond to clot busters and their outcomes

(RxWiki News) Some patients may better respond to clot busting drugs immediately after the onset of stroke symptoms. The challenge is figuring out which patients are most likely to benefit.

A new scoring system called DRAGON may help predict which patients are more likely to respond to the clot busters.

The score also was found to be 86 percent accurate in determining the 90 day outcome following a stroke and treatment with clot busting drugs within 4.5 hours of symptoms.

"Ask your neurologist about the most appropriate stroke treatment."

Dr. Daniel Strbian, study author from the Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland, noted that the DRAGON score is simple, easy to perform and that scores can be available in less than one minute using factors that are known when patients are admitted to the hospital.

He said the free test could aid doctors, the patient and family evaluate the situation and make decisions with the most relevant information. Dr. Strbian said the score could especially be beneficial in scenarios when the clot busters are unlikely to be successful, allowing for alternative therapies to be tried instead.

During the study, researchers followed 1,319 patients who suffered an ischemic stroke and were treated with clot busting drugs. The average age of the patients was 69.

Patients were given a score between zero and 10 based on factors including age, glucose level, time since stroke symptoms started, stroke severity and other factors. Participants with higher scores were more likely to have a poor income, such as death or requiring constant nursing care, three months later.

Investigators found that 96 percent of patients with scores between zero and two had a good outcome at three months, while none of the participants that scored above an eight had a good outcome 90 days later.

The DRAGON scoring system also was tested on a group of 333 stroke patients who were hospitalized in Switzerland. Results of that trial were similar.

The study, which was funded by Helsinki University Central Hospital, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, the Finnish Medical Foundation and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, was published in the Feb. 7 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Review Date: 
February 6, 2012