Research Brief: Anti-clotting agent may reduce amputation risk

A blood-clot-dissolving medication may help reduce the risk of amputation after severe frostbite, US research has suggested.

Six patients received the anti-clotting agent tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 24 hours of severe frostbite injury. They were then compared with 25 frostbite patients who did not receive tPA. Only 10 per cent of those who received tPA had fingers or toes amputated, compared with 41 per cent of patients who did not receive tPA. No proximal amputations were required in the patients who received tPA within 24 hours (Arch Surg 2007;142:546-53).

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