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American Heart Association updates its guidelines on treatment for strokes

For the first time in 15 years, the American Heart Association has updated its treatment guidelines for strokes caused by bleeding in the brain. The newest version includes information on which type of centers are likely to provide the best care. Strokes caused by an aneurysm in the brain are comparatively rare, accounting for about 1 stroke in 20, but they are among the most deadly form of this disease. Studies show that close to half of people with this type of bleeding stroke die of their injuries, but how and where patients are treated can make a big difference. The American Heart Association has released new treatment guidelines designed to improve the type of care patients receive. They found that patients may be able to reduce their risk for strokes due to aneurysms, by controlling their blood pressure and not smoking. But if such a stroke occurs, patients should not ignore the primary warning sign, a sudden, terrible headache. The new guidelines say doctors should give patients a cat scan as soon as possible to detect the bleeding. Prompt surgery can often minimize the damage. And where a patient treated is important too, the research committee found that those treated at larger centers with more experience in bleeding strokes were more likely to survive.

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