is always precious. But if you're having a heart attack, it's critical: Of the 1.1 million
U.S. victims each year, more than 20 percent die within an hour of the first inklings of
chest pain. So it's no surprise that researchers are excited about a new drug called
tenecteplase. It promises to reduce emergency clot-busting treatment from a 90-minute IV
drip to a simple 5-second injection.
Not only is tenecteplase easier to administer than the current standard (known as TPA), it's just as effective. And the newcomer is even slightly safer for patients: By zeroing in on a culprit clog instead of thinning blood throughout the body, it reduces (but does not eliminate) the odds of dangerous bleeding.
Now there's talk about making tenecteplase available in ambulances. If that happens, treatment could start before the ER doors even bang open.
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