Acute and Preventive Treatments for Stroke
The treatments vary by the type of stroke. Ischemic stroke is treated by removing the obstruction and restoring blood flow to the brain. However, hemorrhagic stroke is treated by introducing an obstruction to prevent rupture and bleeding of aneurysms.
- Clot-busters such as tPA - The most promising treatment for ischemic stroke is tissue plasminogen activaters or tPA. However, to be effective the drug must be administered within three to four hours of the onset of symptoms. According to the American Stroke Association, only 3 to 5 percent of those who suffer a stroke reach the hospital in time to be considered for this treatment.
- Preventative Treatment - Antiplatelets such as aspirin, and anticoagulants such as warfarin can reduce the blood’s ability to clot. Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove blood vessel blockage. And, sometimes balloon angioplasty and implantable stents are used to resolve fatty buildup clogging the arteries.
- Surgery – Surgery is often recommended for hemorrhagic stroke when caused by an aneurysm. During the procedure, a metal clip is placed at the base of the aneurysm or to remove the abnormal vessels.
- Endovascular Procedures – Are less invasive and involve the use of an image-guided catheter that is positioned at the location of the aneurysm, where it deposits a mechanical agent such as a coil to prevent rupture.
- Many hemorrhagic strokes are due to blood vessel rupture. Those not caused by an aneurysm can be treated conservatively, but surgical procedures may be necessary to reduce blood volume or to reduce pressure in the brain.