Stroke Can Be Treated
Many people have no idea that stroke can be treated safely and effectively at the right hospital, especially with new, potentially lifesaving options.
The main concern when dealing with ischemic stroke is the preservation of vital brain cells. Ischemic stroke interrupts blood flow to the brain and deprives cells of oxygen and nutrients. The longer someone suffering from stroke waits to be treated once they have started experiencing symptoms, the more blood lost to the brain and the greater the risk of brain damage. Quick, efficient stroke treatment is critical for ischemic stroke victims to help preserve brain cells and reduce the risk of long-term disability, or even death.
Treatment for Ischemic Stroke
Currently, the most widely used treatment for stroke is a clot-busting medication called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). It is administered intravenously (through an IV) to help break up the clot and allow blood flow to return to the brain to save it from permanent damage.
It is important to remember that tPA needs to be given to a patient within 3 to 4½ hours from the start of stroke symptoms for it to work. While tPA has been a major advancement in the field of stroke treatment, fewer than 5% of stroke sufferers have access to the drug because they do not arrive at the stroke center in time.1
Also, if the clot is too big or difficult to dissolve, tPA may not work on its own.
Another Option: Interventional "Inside-the-Artery" Clot Removal
If the stroke victim arrives at the hospital when it's too late for tPA or tPA is not able to fully dissolve the clot, there is an interventional, lifesaving option that many people do not know about referred to as "inside-the-artery" clot removal.
This minimally invasive procedure can be successful up to eight hours after the start of symptoms instead of 3 to 4½ hours like tPA. When needed, physicians will use this procedure to physically remove the clot with aspiration (suction) to restore blood flow to the brain.2,3,4
Know Where "Inside-the-Artery" Clot Removal is Available
Only advanced hospital stroke centers offer inside-the-artery clot removal. Therefore, it is vital to know where your closest advanced Stroke Center is located so you or a loved one can have the best chance of walking away from a stroke with minimal impairment.
In the event of a stroke emergency, immediately call 911. Discuss hospital options with your EMS (Emergency Medical Service) or ambulance crew and request that you or your loved one be taken to the nearest advanced Stroke Center that offers comprehensive options to treat stroke where you will have access to IV tPA, and inside-the-artery clot removal, if needed.
Find your nearest advanced Stroke Center here.