Potential for treatment with thrombolysis in an Irish stroke unit

Ir Med J. 1999 Jan-Feb;92(1):236-8.


Since the publication of the NINDS rt-PA trial in 1995, tissue plasminogen activator has been licensed for the treatment of acute cerebral infarction in the U.S. The demonstrated benefit was confirmed to patients presenting within three hours of symptom onset on adhering to study guidelines, which subsequently have formed the basis for a protocol for thrombolysis in acute stroke. The implementation of a thrombolysis programme in Ireland would require a restructuring of hospital facilities to manage acute stroke. We conducted a prospective study of 100 patients admitted to an acute stroke unit to assess the potential for intervention with t-PA under NINDS guidelines. Data was collected on stroke type. CT appearances, time of onset of stroke and laboratory parameters. Only 6% of all strokes assessed were eligible for thrombolysis and time to presentation was the major excluding factor. When time was removed as an exclusion criteria only 1/5 of all strokes were potential candidates in this best case scenario. Thrombolysis does improve outcome in cerebral infarction in a a strictly controlled setting but only 6% of our patients would currently be eligible for treatment. While this may improve with better public education regarding stroke and it's treatment, only a 1/5 of our patients would still be eligible were they all to present within 2 hours of symptoms onset.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebral Infarction / drug therapy
  • Cerebral Infarction / etiology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator