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Older people 'at no higher risk' of thrombolysis bleeding

Older people are at no higher risk of bleeding following thrombolysis than younger people, a study suggests.

Findings from the Stroke Improvement National Audit Programme (SINAP), found almost one in five patients being treated with thrombolysis from a stroke are over 80 years old and older patients with the condition were treated as quickly as younger patients.

While older people are generally at a higher risk of death following stroke than younger people, they were also were at no higher risk of thrombolysis complications - such as a bleed in the brain - than younger people.

SINAP collected data on the quality of care 37,151 stroke patients receive during their first three days following admission to hospital. Currently, 107 hospitals in England take part in the audit.
The research, published in Age and Ageing, claims to suggest thrombolysis for stroke is now being carried out frequently and safely in older patients with stroke in hospitals that participate in SINAP.
“Thrombolysis is not currently licensed for treatment in older people because of a concern of increased side effects, such as bleeding in the brain, but the study  indicates that this is no longer the case,” concluded the study.
“There should now be a change in practice with patients over 80 routinely receiving clot-busting treatment. The national clinical guideline for stroke recommends that patients regardless of age or stroke severity, where treatment can be started within three hours, should be considered for thrombolysis.”