Monash Health part of breakthrough stroke research

A team of Melbourne researchers, including Monash Health’s Associate Professor Henry Ma, has found the time to treat ischemic stroke patients can be doubled.

The EXTEND study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine with A/Prof Ma as the leading author. The trial, a collaborative effort between The Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne and Monash Health, found the initial window of 4.5 hours from symptom onset could now be pushed to 9 hours if advanced brain imaging showed that there was still ‘brain to save’.

The trial compared the effectiveness of altephase, a thrombolytic drug used to treat ischemic stroke, versus a placebo, for reducing disability after stroke in 225 participants across the world.

The research found that, in most cases, if the patient was administered the altephase between 4.5 – 9 hours after stroke onset, it resulted in a high percentage of patients with no or minor neurologic defects.

This is a life-changing result for the one in five people who suffer from stroke in their sleep.

“These results shift the stroke paradigm from using a clock to determine eligibility for clot-dissolving treatment to using brain imaging to identify whether there is brain tissue that can be saved in the individual patient, A/Prof Ma said.

“This is terrific for patients and will reduce the burden of stroke-related disability in Australia and worldwide.”