Bloodthinner Can Help Frostbite Victims

Drug spares digits, study says
By Evelyn Renold,  Newser User
Posted Jun 19, 2007 11:38 AM CDT
Millions of Americans, predominantly women, suffer from a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon. The condition causes a temporary loss of blood flow to the fingers, toes and sometimes the nose or ears   (KRT Photos)

(Newser) – A clot-busting drug is remarkably effective in treating frostbite patients, according to new research from the University of Utah health center, reports the Los Angeles Times. Patients whose treatment included tissue plasmingoen activator (tPA) kept 90% of affected fingers and toes; patients treated before the drug was in use had 41% amputated.

The drug, used in addition to standard therapy, salvages tissue that's in jeopardy only if it's  given within 24 hours of the injury. Frostbite commonly affects soldiers training or fighting in cold weather as well as people who work or play in the cold and the homeless.