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How to Treat an Ischemic Stroke
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The primary goal of emergency response to a stroke is
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How to Treat an Ischemic Stroke
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Hello, This is Dr. Joel Stein, fro New York Presbyterian Hospital, here with About.comStroke is one of the leading causes of death, and equally important, long-lasting disability. In the case of an ischemic stroke, blood flow to the brain has been restricted by a blockage to the point that some of the cells in the brain start dying. Success of the treatment will depend on the time since the first symptoms, and the physical condition the patient was in before the stroke.The primary goal of any emergency response to a stroke will be to restore normal blood flow to the brain, as soon as possible.To do this, medication such as TPA or other thrombolytic agents can be used. TPA also known as Alteplase is a substance that helps dissolve the blood clot but to be really efficient, it needs to be used right after symptoms are discovered. Aspirin will prevent new clots from forming, but will not dissolve existing ones. Anticoagulant medication such as Heparin can also be used.Some medications can be delivered directly to the blood vessels in the brain in an emergency procedure: in this situation, a catheter can be inserted through an artery in the groin and threaded to the brain, where medicine would be released directly at the site of the blockage. The medicine used is a thrombolytic agent such as tissue Plasminogen Activator and is an engineered version of an enzyme produced normally in the human body.Another option for emergency treatment could be a mechanical clot removal using a special catheter to reach the brain with a tiny device that can physically grab and remove the blood clot.After surviving an ischemic stroke, the patient will often be prescribed medication to help prevent a reoccurrence. Aspirin therapy is very widely used, as are other antiplatelet agents such as Plavix. In some cases, anticoagulant medications such as Warfarin may be appropriate.Revascularization can also help: it is a surgical procedure in which the blocked artery, most typically the carotid artery in the neck, is opened and fatty deposits are removed to improve blood flow. Whatever the course of action, the patient needs to watch for possible complications. To find out more, go to About.com    
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