Penn Doctor Develops Smartphone App to Help in Treating Stroke

Thanks to one University of Pennsylvania neurologist, there's now an app to help doctors treat stroke patients. The app is one of the innovations debuting this week at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Center City.

Stroke physician Claude Nguyen is a self-described nerd. So when he was training at the University of Texas, he thought a smartphone app could help him monitor passing time and other details that are easy to lose track of -- but important for good stroke care.

"Every minute that goes by following a stroke, at least 2 million neurons die," he said. So acting quickly to administer a clot-busting drug called tPA is vital.

"[The app] helps me just to have an at-a-glance kind of dashboard in terms of how much time I have left to give tPA safely," Nguyen added.

Nguyen wrote the app's code to include various stopwatches. And he designed it so the patient's information can be compared with the requirements for clinical trials, letting him know if they're eligible for those trials.

Clinical trials are especially important for stroke because tPA is currently the only FDA-approved drug to treat stroke, Nguyen said.

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