If you’re having a stroke, it’s critical to get medical attention right away. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and prevent death. Thanks to recent advances, stroke treatments and survival rates have improved greatly over the last few decades.
Stroke Treatment: Alteplase IV r-tPA, the Gold Standard
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks or ruptures a blood vessel in the brain. A stroke caused by a clot is called an ischemic stroke, making up about 87% of all strokes in the United States.
The first and only FDA-approved drug treatment for ischemic strokes is Alteplase IV r-tPA, also known as tissue plasminogen activator. Alteplase IV r-tPA dissolves the clot and improves blood flow. If administered within three hours (and up to four-and-a-half hours in certain eligible patients), Alteplase IV r-tPA may improve the chances of recovering from a stroke.
Other Stroke Treatment Options
An endovascular procedure removes the clot by sending a catheter to the site of the blocked blood vessel in the brain. Patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible.
Sometimes these procedures involve administering tPA directly into the blood clot (called intra-arterial treatment) to help dissolve the blockage. In other procedures, the doctor may attempt to remove the clot. Research is ongoing to determine the best clinical protocols for endovascular procedures.