A leading thrombolytic drug needs to be administered as soon as possible after a stroke to maximise its effects on recovery and prevent early death, new analysis has shown.
Research published in The Lancet also warned that the dangers of giving alteplase more than four and a half hours after the stroke might outweigh the benefits it could provide.
The study reported that outcomes after ischaemic stroke, where the brain is starved of blood, can be boosted if intravenous alteplase treatment is given within three hours of the stroke's onset.
University of Glasgow professor Kennedy R Lees and an international team of scientists studied trials involving 3,670 patients.
The findings, for the first time, reported that treatment initiated late reduces the chances of short-term survival, while the chances of the patient dying increases if drugs are applied after 270 minutes.