Before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of intravenous (IV) recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) for acute ischemic stroke in 1996, most of the more than 700,000 strokes that occurred annually were not acutely treated. Due to this fact, stroke is the leading cause of disability in this country and costs the health-care system an estimated $53.6 billion per year (1). Over the last 10 years, groundbreaking research and advancements have occurred in the diagnosis and care of this population. However, delivering this potentially lifesaving therapy to all appropriate patients still meets with significant roadblocks.
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