How a heart attack drug is revolutionizing stroke treatment

May 11, 2023

A clot-busting drug developed to treat heart attack is now being used as a standard treatment for acute ischemic stroke, thanks in large part to research at The Ottawa Hospital.

A pan-Canadian clinical trial published in The Lancet in 2022 showed that the heart attack drug Tenecteplase (TNK) works as well as, if not better than, the standard stroke drug, Alteplase (tPA). Drs. Michel Shamy and Dar Dowlatshahi sat on the trial’s steering committee and played a key role in developing the new Canadian stroke guidelines, which recommend TNK for the first time.

Importantly, TNK can be administered in a single fast-acting injection, compared to tPA, which requires a one-hour infusion that must be frequently monitored by nurses. Patients at TOH are now benefiting from the change in practice, which also frees up nurses to attend to other patients.

“Thanks to our amazing team, including all the Emergency nurses, we were able to launch the trial, get the results and change practice in less than two years,” said Dr. Dowlatshahi.

“This is a great example of the power of research,” added Dr. Shamy.

Ottawa team members: Ottawa Stroke Program and the entire nursing team at the Civic Campus Emergency Department

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa and supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.