New drug treatment saves frostbitten fingers, toes

Amputation rates decline when tPA treatment used
November 18th, 2014

Doctors and nurses at the University of Colorado Hospital’s Burn Center are saving frostbitten fingers and toes by using an innovative drug therapy that increases blood flow to the affected area.

The drug is a blood thinner called tissue plaminogen activator (tPA). Often used to treat heart attacks and strokes, it also increases blood flow to frostbitten digits.

“We started using it 5 years ago, and our amputation rate has gone down dramatically,” said Dr. Gordon Lindberg, the Burn Center’s medical director.

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UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. With 24,000 employees, UCHealth includes 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.