Ischemic Stroke Treatment Starts with Proper Diagnosis
In ischemic stroke treatment, time is always of the essence. With a blockage preventing sufficient blood flow to areas of the brain, any delay in treatment could mean damage to brain tissue and loss of function. For this reason, anyone showing signs of a stroke should receive emergency medical attention as quickly as possible at the nearest comprehensive stroke facility.
When a patient arrives at Tampa General Hospital, our dedicated stroke team first determines if a ischemic stroke (triggered by a blood clot) or a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding on the brain) was experienced, as well as where the blood clot or vessel rupture occurred. From there, our team can administer emergency treatment. For an ischemic stroke, patients are often given medications, including aspirin, which can thin the blood and help prevent future clots; the risk of a subsequent stroke is greatest just after the first has occurred. Patients may also receive an intravenous injection of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to help dissolve blood clots within the first few hours of having a stroke.
In some cases, additional measures may be required as part of an ischemic stroke treatment plan. TGH may complete the following procedures:
- Delivering medications directly to the brain – Our staff can insert a very small catheter into an artery in the groin, then feed it up to the arteries of the brain to deliver tPA nearer to the site of the blockage.
- Mechanical clot removal – Using the same approach as described above, we can direct a catheter to the brain, where a small device will break up the blood clot.
- Carotid endarterectomy – We can remove the plaque lining the carotid artery to improve blood flow in the area and reduce the risk of future ischemic strokes.
- Angioplasty and stent placement – Angioplasty procedures involve the inflation of a small balloon within a narrowed artery to reestablish its normal diameter. In many cases, our surgeons will also insert a stent within the affected artery to help it maintain the expanded size.
Beyond emergency treatment and surgery, TGH has the resources necessary to provide our patients with comprehensive stroke recovery plans that are tailored to their specific needs. These plans often include physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. If you believe you are having an ischemic stroke, seek treatment immediately. Call 9-1-1 immediately and ask to be taken to the closest comprehensive stroke center.