THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 569.5 Guest: Dr. Susan Fagan, pharmacology, Wayne St. Univ., Henry Ford Health Topic: Cost effectiveness study on TPA for stroke victims Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Is a good stroke treatment worth the bucks?...coming up...

SPOT: NEMA...the National Emergency Medicine Association... fights our worst health enemies - heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: TPA is short for Tissue Plasminogen Activator, and I'm glad for that. The drug dissolves the clots causing stroke, improving the quality survival rate of stroke by about 30%. But it has to be given within 3 hours of initial symptoms. Dr. Susan Fagan of Wayne State University in Detroit, says a study has shown it's worth the 2 thousand dollar a dose price tag...

FAGAN: Now, it may cost the hospital more to take care of those patients. But it's quickly made up, because so many more patients treated with TPA go home... versus nursing home or rehab institute, which are very expensive forms of post-stroke care.

NEMA: Fagan says there aren't enough patients yet to worry about the overall costs...

FAGAN : There are actually very few people who are coming in on time to get the therapy, so the total impact on the drug budget hasn't been felt. Our hope is to get more and more patients coming in earlier.

NEMA: Fagan believes stronger public education will help people know the warning signs of stroke: a numbness in your extremities, blurring or loss of vision, inability to speak or understand speech, or the worst headache ever. If you or someone close to you has them...getting to a hospital quickly could save your faculties and your life. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.