Treatments for Stroke
There are several options available to treat stroke and help reduce or eliminate disability. Patients are evaluated and treated based on individual need and established guidelines.
Aneurysm coiling is a procedure performed to treat an aneurysm by blocking it with soft platinum coils that are placed in the aneurysm through a catheter.
Angioplasty with Stenting
A tube inserted into an artery in the groin is guided to the narrowed cerebral artery. A small balloon is inserted into the tube and is opened when it reaches the narrowed part of the artery. A small, flexible mesh tube called a stent is then inserted through the tube into the narrowed artery. The stent remains in place to keep the artery open.
A carotid endarterectomy is a procedure performed with a catheter to prevent stroke. During a CEA, plaque buildup on the inside of an artery is removed to open the artery to allow proper blood flow.
Thrombolysis is the use of a thrombolytic drug called Activase to dissolve blood clots in patients having an ischemic stroke. In intravenous thrombolysis, Activase is administered through a vein in the arm and travels through the blood stream until it reaches the blockage. The FDA-approved drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is also used during this procedure. Unfortunately, because this procedure can only be utilized within a few hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, a lot of patients do not qualify for this highly effective treatment.
Activase can also be used for intra-arterial thrombolytics, in which the medication is delivered directly to the clot. A catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin and threaded to the blocked artery in the brain. The clot-busting drug is then injected directly into the clot.
Mechanical embolectomy is a procedure used to open the intracranial vessels during an ischemic stroke by removing a blood clot from the artery with a small instrument. Mechanical embolectomies are frequently performed on patients who are not eligible for intravenous or intra-arterial thrombolysis.
Patients who are hospitalized for stroke are evaluated on multiple levels. Testing may include:
- Brain imaging
- Carotid ultrasound
- Lab work
- Physical, occupational or speech therapy
- Swallow study