Ischemic Stroke Treatment
The type of therapy administered depends on many factors, including age and general physical health as well as the severity and location of the stroke. The main goal of ischemic stroke therapies is to remove the blockage in the brain.
- This clot-busting medication helps dissolve the blood clot that is blocking a cerebral vessel. This will help restore the blood flow in the brain.
- It is also known as tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).
- t-PA is not safe for everyone and must be administered as soon as possible after the start of stroke symptoms.
- These medications minimize the damage caused by brain cell death associated with stroke.
Preventative and /or Maintenance Medications
Anticoagulants / Antiplatelets
- Anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin) and antiplatelets (e.g., aspirin) may be prescribed.
- These medications hinder the blood's ability to clot.
- Other medications may be given in order to relieve pain, increase blood flow, control seizures, and reduce fever and blood sugar levels.
The type of surgery recommended by your physician depends on various factors. Some surgical methodologies include:
- This surgery involves removing plaque from the carotid artery that leads to the blood flow within the brain.
- This may reduce the risk of ischemic stroke.
Microsurgical Techniques: Brain Bypass Surgery
- This microsurgery creates a new path for blood to flow through the brain, particularly in areas that have been depleted of blood.
- Another vessel usually is grafted to the cerebral artery to create this new path.
- Microsurgical techniques allow Emory's experienced neurosurgeons to perform with optimal precision, resulting in less risk and better outcomes for the patient.
Endovascular Procedures (Interventional Neuroradiology)
- Interventional neuroradiological procedures are a less-invasive means of treating neurovascular disorders.
- They use very small catheters, called microcatheters, to treat problems inside blood vessels.
- The microcatheter is inserted into the vessels through a tiny puncture in the groin, where an interventional neuroradiologist can reach almost any vessel in the brain or spinal cord.
- These endovascular approaches can be used to open narrowed or blocked arteries, dissolve clots in brain arteries, repair certain aneurysms, and close abnormal blood vessels that are at risk of bleeding.
- These methods often avoid the need for more invasive surgery.
- In this procedure, a neuro-interventionist threads a microcatheter from an artery in the groin to a blocked artery in the brain.
- Clot-busting medications are injected into the artery to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain faster than many other medications.
Cerebral Angioplasty and Stenting
- This procedure helps widen a blocked artery.
- A catheter with a balloon at the end is inserted into the obstructed artery and the balloon is inflated, pushing the plaque against the walls.
- A stent, or a mesh steel brace, then is inserted to keep fatty buildup from clogging the vessel.
After emergency treatment for hemorrhagic stroke, your physician will likely recommend:
- Ongoing stroke therapies, including medications, surgery, and interventional neuroradiology
- Rehabilitation to help regain abilities
- Follow-up outpatient visits to monitor health
- Diagnostic procedures if there are signs of additional problems
- Long-term care to help prevent another stroke
- Neurointensive/neurocritical care for emergencies
- Clinical trials for new experimental therapies
If treated within three hours, clot-busting medications can reduce the risk of long-term disability.
Find out more about interventional neuroradiology and Emory's nationally renowned Neurosciences. Download a podcast here to watch and learn.
Time and Experience
Emory's Stroke Center includes three of the region's most experienced interventional neuroradiologists. They perform more neuroradiological procedures combined than any other team in the Southeast. Learn more about them here.