Cancer patients less likely to receive clot-busting drugs after stroke

January 26, 2018, American Heart Association
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

When a stroke occurs in patients with cancer, they are one-third less likely to receive standard clot-busting medication as patients without a malignancy, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Cancer patients frequently have strokes, which can occur due to traditional risk factors or from risks associated with cancer (such as blood that clots more easily) or its treatment. Over time, the use of both clot-dissolving drugs and procedures that mechanically remove clots following stroke have increased. The current study sought to determine whether these approaches increased as much in with cancer (excluding those with brain cancer).

In a national sample, the researchers found:

  • The use of clot-busting medication rose from 0.01 percent in 1998 to 4.23 percent in 2013 in with stroke, but its use remains about one-third lower than in patients without cancer.
  • The use of newer procedures to mechanically remove clots rose from 0.05 percent in 2006 to 1.07 percent in 2013 in cancer patients with stroke, and is similar to its use in patients without cancer.

Explore further: Prompt clot-grabbing treatment produces better stroke outcomes

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