Every minute matters when a stroke occurs. If you suspect a stroke, call 911 for immediate treatment. Immediate treatment is key to limiting the extent of brain injury resulting from stroke. Patients brought into the emergency department are seen within minutes by experts in acute stroke care.
Your care team may provide a variety of treatment options, including medication and surgery.
A clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may be administered within 4.5 hours of suffering from a stroke. It improves the patient's chances of survival and recovery to normal or near normal, and may also reduce the complications of stroke.
Time is most important because intravenous tPA can only be administered within a 4.5 hour window from the onset of stroke symptoms. The sooner tPA is administered, the better the chances of the brain suffering less damage.
In some circumstances, tPA is given into an artery that directly supplies the brain. Special devices may also be used to remove a clot in one of the major arteries of the brain. These procedures require specially trained neurologists or interventional radiologists.
Several types of surgical options are available and may be performed to treat a stroke. If the stroke is caused by a brain hemorrhage, clots may be removed directly from the brain. If the cause of the stroke is a ruptured aneurysm, a neurosurgeon can operate and clip the aneurysm, or metal coils can be put into the aneurysm to prevent further rupture.