Nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.

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Strokes can have life-altering consequences like vision, walking and swallowing difficulties. They also rank in the top five killers of Americans. For each minute a stroke goes untreated, the brain loses around 2 million cells it cannot recover.

"Getting to the hospital quickly – within four and a half hours of your onset of symptoms – is important," says Leslie Ingold, a registered nurse and stroke coordinator with OSF HealthCare.

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A cutting-edge stroke drug recently rolled out at OSF HealthCare is already turning the tide for people.

Tenecteplase (TNKase ®) can be used in people experiencing a stroke and who meet certain criteria, such as a specific blood pressure, history of brain bleeds, medications taken at home and how quickly they arrived at the emergency department. TNKase is a clot-busting agent that stands to become the gold standard of this type of care, Ingold says.

"It has a lower cost. It’s something providers can mix much, much quicker," Ingold says. "And it’s given quickly in an IV push over five to 10 seconds, and we’re done."

TNKase also does a better job than its predecessor at finding and breaking up clots, and there’s a lower risk of bleeding.

"The quicker we can get oxygen flowing back into that brain tissue, the better recovery the person is going to have," Ingold says.

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