What Are the Treatments for Ischemic Strokes?

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According to the Mayo Clinic, 80 percent of strokes are ischemic and are a result of severely reduced blood flow to the brain. An inadequate blood supply blocks the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells and can cause them to die within minutes. Rapid treatment is necessary to restore the flow and minimize complications

Aspirin

Aspirin is determined to be the best medication for an ischemic stroke. It effectively thins the blood, helping to break up any clots and reduces the likelihood of having another stroke. Do not take aspirin before coming to the hospital. In the event aspirin is not appropriate, the blood-thinning medications warfarin or heparin might be used.

Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA)

TPA is a very powerful clot-busting drug that can provide a dramatic recovery in some stroke victims but it can only be given within three hours of the stroke. Additionally, the doctors must determine it will not worsen bleeding in the brain.

Carotid Endarterectomy

This procedure focuses on the carotid arteries present on both sides of the neck which connect to the brain. The surgeon opens the blocked artery to remove the plaques causing the blockage. Like any surgery, there are risks, but in particular, it can prompt another stroke or heart attack by allowing clots or fatty debris out into the body. Filters placed at certain points in the bloodstream help catch these dangerous materials to reduce this risk.

Angioplasty and Stents

This procedure is less common than the carotid endarterectomy and aims to widen the inside of an artery leading to the brain, normally the carotid artery. The doctors inflates a balloon in the artery, which pushes the plaque to the artery walls. Afterwards, a stent is inserted in the artery to keep it from narrowing again. This is a good option for people who cannot withstand the above surgery.

Rehabilitation

Stroke rehabilitation will depend on the extent of damage and what part of the brain is involved. Complications might include trouble moving, talking, breathing, swallowing, vision or hearing loss, and impaired bladder or bowel function. Your recovery team might consist of physical and occupational therapists, nurses, physiatrist (rehabilitation doctor), speech therapists, social workers, or a psychologist.

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