If you are having a stroke it is important to get immediate medical attention—Call 9-1-1. The sooner you get treatment the better. Immediate treatment may help minimize the long-term effects of stroke and improve recovery outcomes.
Can Stroke Be Treated?
There are several treatment options for stroke depending on the cause of your stroke. If you are having an ischemic stroke or a stroke that is caused by a blood clot your healthcare professional may recommend drug treatment.
There is only one Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug treatment for acute ischemic stroke. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is given via intravenous therapy (IV) and works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. tPA should be given within three hours (and up to 4.5 hours in certain eligible patients)of the time symptoms first started.
Some ischemic strokes are treated with small mechanical devices that remove or break up blood clots. If clot-busting drugs are ruled out, another option one of the many FDA approved mechanical devices. A surgeon inserts a small mechanical device into the blocked artery using a thin tube. Once inside, the tool traps the clot, and either breaks it up or the surgeon pulls it out of the brain, reopening the blocked blood vessel in the process.
A hemorrhagic stroke (sometimes called a bleed) occurs if an artery in your brain leaks blood or ruptures (breaks open). The first steps in treating a hemorrhagic stroke are to find the cause of bleeding in the brain and then control it. Some of the options for treatments include surgical clips or coils inserted in aneurisms (weaknesses in the blood vessel wall), controlling high blood pressure, and surgery to remove the bleeding vessel and blood that has spilled into the brain.
Medical advances have greatly improved survival rates and recovery from stroke during the last decade. Your chances of survival and recovery outcomes are even better if the stroke is identified and treated immediately.