The story never explains its headline that tPA “may prevent disability from mild stroke.” How often was this seen? How can you draw that conclusion from the records of 4 people?
This story may have received a generous score of 3 stars but its shortcomings are very difficult to overlook.
Mild stroke is an important health issue. It deserves more explanation than what was given in this story.
The story states that the drug costs about $2,000.
No, as in “evidence” above, the benefits in the 4 patients are really never explained.
Not good enough. The story only says the drug isn’t without risks, chiefly brain bleeding. How often does this occur? This is a big issue. If even one of the 4 people whose records show they got tPA in this analysis had problems after hospital discharge, that could throw any potential benefit out the window.
This is a weakness in the story.
If only 1% of patients (4 in all) in the analysis were given tPA, how can such sweeping recommendations be made? The story never addressed this.
We do, however, always appreciate the boilerplate language about the limitations of talks given at scientific meetings.
There is no disease-mongering of mild stroke.
One independent source was quoted. But it would have been better if he’d been quoted on the quality of the evidence.
There is no discussion about alternative approaches for people with mild strokes. At best, the story compared the new treatment (in a sample of 4 patients!) with routine standard of care (unexplained). The problem is that the story never told us how the 4 patients treated with tPA fared.
The story isn’t crystal clear on the widespread availability of the drug tPA but it can be inferred from the story.
It’s clear from the story that it would be a relatively novel approach to give tPA to mild stroke patients, since it appears it is hardly ever done now.
It does not appear that the story relied solely on a news release.