UMHS, partners to boost stroke treatment in Flint

November 15, 2016  //  FOUND IN: News

Following the onset of a stroke, restoring blood flow to the brain as quickly as possible is critical for preventing disability and improving the chances of recovery. This crucial window for treatment is a narrow one – about 4 ½ hours – and the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome.  

Yet because of a variety of barriers to timely evaluation and treatment, fewer than 5 percent of those who experience a stroke receive the proper care. 

UMHS aims to help improve these numbers in the communities that need it most. Under a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a team of U-M researchers and community partners is embarking on a novel project to increase acute stroke treatment rates in Flint, Michigan. 

Flint, which has received national attention for its ongoing water crisis, has the lowest acute stroke treatment rate of any community of its size in the country.

Nationwide, more than 7 million stroke survivors are left with persistent disability after a stroke, such as weakness or speech and language problems, often because treatment was given too late or not at all. Each minute of delay results in an estimated loss of 1.9 million neurons, which, over the course of an hour without treatment, can be roughly compared to 3.6 years of normal brain aging.

Stroke treatments must be administered in the emergency department, often in the form of a “clot-busting” drug called tPA, and can reduce the risk of disability by more than 30 percent. Click here to read more about how U-M will help those in Flint get access to the emergency care they need.