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A Novel Treatment Plan

Holly Seefeldt (on left) with patient; photo by Karen Sherlock, reproduced with permission, © Journal Sentinel Inc.
Holly Seefeldt (on left) with patient; photo by Karen Sherlock, reproduced with permission, © Journal Sentinel Inc.

Holly Seefeldt, M.S., OTR, is a College of Health Sciences (CHS) alumna and an occupational therapist at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis. Recently she worked with a patient who participated in a study to test an innovative new drug.

Her patient is a woman who suffered from a stroke and participated in a clinical trial that studied the effects of Viprinex (ancrod), a medication used to address symptoms up to six hours after a stroke. The current medication, t-PA, is approved for only up to three hours after the onset of symptoms. Seefeldt points out, “Going from three hours to six hours would allow many more people to be treated.”

What is novel about Viprinex is that the drug is derived from an unconventional source, the venom of the Malayan pit viper. It reduces the levels of fibrinogen, a sticky coagulant in the blood that is the main protein involved in clotting.

Seefeldt has seen dramatic improvement in her patient’s condition. For persons who survive a stroke, it is a second chance at life. A survivor needs to find a “new normal” to be able to cope with the situation, and has to be motivated to live life to its fullest. A more effective drug allows patients a better quality of life.

The results of this trial could benefit many people after the initial onset of stroke symptoms. The importance for a therapist is not that it changes the treatment plan, but has the potential to change therapeutic prognosis.

Seefeldt earned an M.S. in Occupational Therapy in 2006 and a B.A in 2004. She also handles a support group for stroke survivors and their caregivers several times a year.

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