What Treatment Options Are Available for a Stroke?


Quick Answer

Treatment options for ischemic strokes include an intravenously administered tissue plasminogen activator and mechanical devices that break down or remove blood clots, explains the National Stroke Association. Doctors treat hemorrhagic strokes with surgically implanted clips or coils, surgical removal of bleeding blood vessels and management of high blood pressure.

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Ischemic and hemorrhagic are the two main classifications of strokes, and the treatment options a doctor uses to treat a stroke depends on which type it is, states the National Stroke Association. An ischemic stroke occurs when there is a blood clot inside of a blood vessel through which blood travels to the brain, so treatment options involve removing the clot and restoring blood flow to the brain. As of 2015, intravenous tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, is the only drug therapy the FDA approves for treating ischemic strokes. The drug dissolves the blood clot responsible for the stroke, and patients ideally should receive tPA within three hours of their first stroke symptoms. Ischemic strokes make up 87 percent of all strokes, according to the American Stroke Association.

In the case of a hemorrhagic stroke, an artery either ruptures or leaks blood into the brain, notes the National Stroke Association. Treatment involves stopping the bleeding, strengthening weakened areas of the affected blood vessel, removing the blood vessel and/or removing leaked blood from the brain, depending on the severity of the situation.

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