(HealthDay News) – Faster thrombolysis treatment is associated with improved stroke outcome, with each minute of onset-to-treatment time saved correlating with an additional 1.8 days of healthy life, according to a study published online March 13 in Stroke.

Atte Meretoja, MD, from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues quantified patient lifetime benefits gained from faster treatment using observational prospective data for 2,258 consecutive stroke patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis from 1998–2011. The treatment effects were used to model the shift in three-month modified Rankin Scale distributions with reducing treatment delays.

The researchers found that 1.8 days of extra healthy life was granted by each minute of onset-to-treatment time saved. The benefit was seen in all groups, with each minute providing 0.6 and 0.9 days for old (age 80 years) severe and mild patients, respectively, and 2.7 and 3.5 days in young (age 50 years) mild and severe patients, respectively. Over their longer lifetimes, women gained slightly more than men. In the whole cohort, an average equivalent of one-month of additional disability-free life was provided by each 15-minute reduction in treatment delay.

“Realistically achievable small reductions in stroke thrombolysis delays would result in significant and robust average health benefits over patients’ lifetimes,” the authors write. “The awareness of concrete importance of speed could promote practice change.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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