New research finds failing to weigh emergency stroke patients leads to wrong dose of drugs

November 11, 2015, Royal Holloway, University of London
New research finds failing to weigh emergency stroke patients leads to wrong dose of drugs

A new study has revealed stroke patients receiving emergency clot busting drugs, the correct dose of which depends on the patient's weight, may be receiving the wrong dose because the UK (and much of Europe) does not weigh patients prior to its administration.

The research, which was published in Stroke on 10 November, was carried out by the Institute of Cardiovascular Research at Royal Holloway, University of London and St Peters Hospital in Chertsey and reveals errors were being made in the dosage because were poor at guessing the weight of patients, particularly the heaviest patients irrespective of age, gender or presence of other diseases.

Overall, 7% of the 242 patients studied received an incorrect dose. However, in patients weighing over 80kg who made up a third of the study, this increased to approximately 20% receiving an incorrect (usually by 10% too little) dose of the clot busting . At discharge these patients had on average 10% poorer outcome.

Those patients who had been accurately dosed where seen to have the greatest functional improvement at discharge.

Lead researcher Professor Pankaj Sharma from the Institute of Cardiovascular Research at Royal Holloway, said: "Our study has revealed that patients are being given the wrong dose of up to 10% of the amount they should receive which is resulting in poorer outcomes. This was the case in 20% of the heaviest patients, which made up a third of the studied population.

If we were to extrapolate this data to the approximately 150,000 individuals that suffer a annually in the UK then it would mean around 10,000 stroke victims per year are receiving the wrong dose, potentially impacting on their final functional outcome."

The researchers have made a recommendation that all emergency/A&E departments in the UK have at least one automatic weighing bed and that this should be mandated across the NHS.

A simple automatic weighing accessory for a hospital bed can cost as little as a few hundred pounds but potentially save the NHS millions of pounds in terms of better stroke outcome and reduced morbidity.

Professor Sharma added: "I would struggle to think of an alternative intervention for stroke that would benefit so many , in so short a time, for so little money."

Explore further: Clot-busting drugs improve diabetic stroke patients' prospects, study reveals

More information: T. Barrow et al. Estimating Weight of Patients With Acute Stroke When Dosing for Thrombolysis, Stroke (2015). DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.011436

Related Stories

Clot-busting drugs improve diabetic stroke patients' prospects, study reveals

November 16, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Clot-busting drugs given to patients who have diabetes and previously suffered a stroke aid their recovery from a second stroke a new study has revealed.

Certified stroke centers more likely to give clot-busting drugs

March 26, 2013
Stroke patients are three times more likely to receive clot-busting medication if treated at a certified stroke center, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Hispanic stroke patients less likely to receive clot-busting drugs in

February 13, 2014
Hispanic stroke patients admitted to hospitals in the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were less likely than non-Hispanics in the same border states to receive clot-busting drugs and more likely ...

A prescription for better stroke care

August 27, 2014
Stroke patients are 70 per cent more likely to continue taking their stroke prevention medications one year later if they have a prescription in hand when discharged – according to researchers at St. Michael's Hospital ...

Some stroke treatments proven to reduce health care costs

July 27, 2015
Use of mechanical thrombectomy on qualifying stroke patients could result in major savings to the healthcare economy in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and other western countries with a similar healthcare structure, according ...

Stroke patients receiving better, more timely care

February 11, 2015
One in four acute ischemic stroke patients treated with a time-dependent clot-busting drug were quickly transferred from an emergency department or smaller community hospital to a certified stroke center, according to research ...

Recommended for you

Higher risk of heart attack on Christmas Eve

December 12, 2018
The risk of heart attack peaks at around 10pm on Christmas Eve, particularly for older and sicker people, most likely due to heightened emotional stress, finds a Swedish study in this week's Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Your weight history may predict your heart failure risk

December 12, 2018
In a medical records analysis of information gathered on more than 6,000 people, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers conclude that simply asking older adult patients about their weight history at ages 20 and 40 could provide ...

Age is the biggest risk for heart disease, but lifestyle and meds have impact

December 12, 2018
Of all the risk factors for heart disease, age is the strongest predictor of potential trouble.

New understanding of mysterious 'hereditary swelling'

December 12, 2018
For the first time ever, biomedical researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, report cellular defects that lead to a rare disease, hereditary angioedema (HAE), in which patients experience recurrent episodes of swelling ...

Research team traces pathway to cardioprotection in post-ischemic heart failure

December 11, 2018
During an ischemic attack, the heart is temporarily robbed of its blood supply. The aftermath is devastating: reduced heart contractility, heart cell death, and heart failure. Contributing to these detrimental changes is ...

Macrophage cells key to helping heart repair—and potentially regenerate, new study finds

December 11, 2018
Scientists at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre have identified the type of cell key to helping the heart repair and potentially regenerate following a heart attack.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.