the benefits," Dr. Gregg Fonarow, who was not involved with the new study, told Reuters Health.
Fonarow is co-chief of the University of California, Los Angeles Division of Cardiology.
"Time is really the most critical factor here in determining the outcome," he said.
Over time, Fonarow said hospitals have improved the time they take to get patients treatment. But there has been little success in shortening the time it takes for people to recognize they're having a stroke and get to a hospital.
Many organizations promote the FAST pneumonic device to remember the symptoms of a stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 9-1-1 after any symptom.
"We continue to need to strive to educate the population regarding the benefits of seeking care as quickly as possible after suspecting stroke," said Dr. Robert Brown, a stroke specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Brown, who was not involved with the new study, said the finding that every minute counts is also a reminder to doctors and medical staff to evaluate their practices in an effort to save time once the patient arrives at the hospital.
"I think this is also very enlightening and energizing to providers who are constantly thinking of ways to improve," he said.