Ischemic Stroke Treatment

The treatment for ischemic stroke is clot removal. Doctors can accomplish this with medication and mechanical treatments:

Medication Treatment with Alteplase IV r-tPA

Considered the gold standard, tissue plasminogen activator, r-tPA, (known as alteplase) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.
Doctors administer Alteplase IV r-tPA through an IV in the arm, dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived.

Many people don’t arrive at the hospital in time to receive the medication, which can save lives and reduce long-term effects of stroke. So it’s important to identify stroke and seek treatment immediately.

Mechanical Treatment to Remove the Clot

An endovascular procedure or a mechanical thrombectomy is a strongly recommended option to remove a clot in eligible patients with a large vessel occlusion, or LVO.
In this procedure, doctors use a wire-cage device called a stent retriever. They thread a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the blocked artery in the brain. The stent opens and grabs the clot. Special suction tubes may also remove the clot.

The procedure:

  • Should be done within six hours of the onset of acute stroke symptoms.
  • Can benefit patients under certain conditions if done within 24 hours of onset.
  • Should include Alteplase IV r-tPA treatment in eligible patients

Additional resources for acute ischemic stroke and treatment:

I Will Act F.A.S.T!

Knowing the warning signs of a stroke may be the difference between recovery and disability. Learn to think and act F.A.S.T.

The American Heart Association receives support from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers whose products may be mentioned in this article. The American Heart Association maintains strict policies preventing supporters from influencing science-based health information. A list of supporters can be found here.