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Stroke. 2009 Jul;40(7):2564-7. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.545988. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

Knowledge of tissue plasminogen activator for acute stroke among Michigan adults.

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Michigan Department of Community Health, Chronic Disease Epidemiology Section, Lansing, MI 48909, USA.



Although tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is an effective therapy for acute ischemic stroke, treatment rates remain low. Efforts to address the underuse of tPA include public education to increase the recognition of stroke symptoms and the awareness of tPA treatment. Our objective was to determine the level of knowledge about tPA treatment for acute stroke among a representative sample of Michigan adults.


The Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) is a random-digit-dial telephone survey of adults conducted annually as part of the national BRFS. Questions regarding tPA treatment for acute stroke were included in the 2004 Michigan BRFS. We examined the prevalence of awareness using chi(2) tests and generated multivariable logistic regression models.


Among 4724 respondents, only 32.2% (95% CI=30.8 to 33.8%) were aware of the existence of tPA treatment for acute stroke, of whom 52.7% (50.0 to 55.4%) knew that it needed to be administered within 3 hours of symptom onset. Awareness of tPA was higher among middle aged adults, females, whites, and those with higher education and income. Awareness of the time window for tPA was higher among middle aged adults and whites.


In this population-based survey only a third of the public were aware of tPA as a treatment for stroke, and only 1 in 6 were aware that the treatment exists and needs to be given within 3 hours of symptom onset. Continuing efforts are necessary to increase public knowledge about tPA treatment for acute stroke.

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