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In this Your Healthy Family, we're digging deeper into last week's announcement from UCHealth about a new drug protocol when it comes to treating ischemic stroke patients in order to improve outcomes.
David Ornelas is an RN and the manager UCHealth’s mobile stroke unit, and he says when it comes to treating strokes, “The standard for decades has been tPA or Anteplase which is a thrombolytic drug.” Now, UCHealth uses TNK or Tenecteplase, which works very similarly when treating (ischemic) strokes and blood clots but has some advantages over tPA.
Ornelas explains the beauty of TNK. Unlike TPa, which is given as an initial dose, followed by an IV infusion that can take up to an hour, TNK is provided in a single dose, with two advantages.
First David says, “An ischemic stroke is a blood clot that occludes one of the blood vessels running to the brain, starving parts of the brain of blood oxygen nutrients. What the TNK does is it goes systemically through the blood, and it actually starts attacking the blood clot and breaking it down to open that vessel up and restore that blood flow.”
Secondly, Ornelas says not only is a single dose of medication faster to give, but fewer steps in any process means less chance for error. “Especially looking at medication errors that have multiple steps. With TNK you have less chance of error. Switching to TNK has allowed us to decrease those potential errors by just having one step to administer the medication.”
TNK isn't a new drug; it's also used to treat heart attacks caused by a blood clot blocking an artery. David says, “They started doing more studies on using TNK in the same application that we do tPA, and what the studies have shown is there are very positive outcomes for those (ischemic stroke) patients in breaking down blood clots. TNK actually has a higher affinity for some of those clotting factors and works almost a little bit better on those really hard clots. It all works the same dealing with ischemia where tissue or cells are starving for blood oxygen nutrients.”
In future stories, we’ll have more news of UCHealth’s mobile stroke treatment unit and its future in Colorado Springs as well as many important reminders of knowing and understanding what “BE FAST” means when it comes to stroke treatment.
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