A new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, indicates that a new scoring method may help doctors pinpoint which stroke patients may exhibit positive responses to the drug alteplase. The scoring method, called the DRAGON score, was reported by researchers as being 86% accurate in predicting patient outcome 3 months following stroke and treatment with alteplase within 4 ½ hours after their first stroke symptoms. 

Daniel Strbian, MD, PhD, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland, explains the the efficiency and benefits of the scoring method. “We found that we could determine the score in less than a minute. This can help the doctor, the patient, and the family to evaluate the situation, make choices, and give the most relevant treatment with the greatest speed.”

The study reportedly encompassed 1,319 patients with ischemic stroke, average aged 69 years. Researchers say the patients were treated with alteplase and given a score of zero to 10. The scoring was based, researchers say, on their age, glucose level, time since the stroke symptoms began, and the severity of the stroke, in addition to other factors. The results indicated a parallel between higher scores and an increased probability of a negative patient outcome 3 months later. Researchers report that a “negative outcome” was defined as fatality, being bedridden, incontinent, and requiring constant care and attention.

The results go on to suggest that 96% of patients who scored zero to two exhibited a positive outcome 3 months later. Researchers add that a “positive outcome” translated into the ability to independently conduct daily activities. The study also indicates that none of the patients who received a DRAGON score of eight to 10 exhibited positive outcomes.

Source: American Academy of Neurology