When stroke occurs, every second matters. The longer the brain is deprived of blood flow and oxygen, more brain cells die. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Americans and can cause lifelong disability when not fatal.
When stroke patients present in the Emergency department, our specialists use diagnostic tests to rapidly establish the stroke’s location and extent of brain injury. Our physicians then take a multidisciplinary approach, working together with other specialists to determine the best treatment option for you, based on the stroke’s type and severity.
One treatment option is endovascular clot removal, a minimally invasive procedure performed by an interventional neuroradiologist. Endovascular clot removal uses a small catheter (a thin, long tube), inserted through a small incision in an artery in the groin, to reach the clot site and remove the stroke-causing blood clot.
Ischemic Stroke Treatment
The majority of strokes are ischemic strokes, caused by a blood clot blocking an artery supplying the brain with blood. The part of the brain that is cut off from the blood supply loses function. Ischemic strokes are commonly treated with the clot-busting drug t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator). t-PA is administered to stroke patients through an IV and works together with the body’s enzymes to break down blood clots. The treatment must be administered within three hours of stroke onset to be effective.
For certain types of strokes where t-PA is not effective, endovascular clot removal is an alternative treatment option. If this treatment is recommended for you, it will be performed by one of our interventional neuroradiologists, specializing in endovascular approaches.
Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel bursts and blood is forced into the brain issue, disrupting brain function. Blood must be removed from the brain to minimize permanent brain damage. Hemorrhagic strokes caused by clots can be treated through endovascular clot removal, clot busting medication or medication to minimize brain swelling. Hemorrhages caused by aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation ruptures (blood flowing directly from your arteries to your veins) are treated through the minimally-invasive repair of burst blood vessels or blood vessel blocks to divert blood flow away from the damaged vessels.
Following acute stroke treatment, our neurorehabilitation team of physicians and physical, occupational and speech therapists can help to maximize your recovery.