Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator (rTPA). Also referred to as "clot buster." Must be given within three (3) hours of the onset of symptoms. Not all stroke patients will meet the required criteria to have the rTPA given, but those who do studies show they have have minimal to no neurological deficits at three months after having a stroke. Approximately 3-5% of stroke patients will receive rTPA since most patients delay in seeking medical care past the three hour time limit.
Exclusion criteria is symptoms longer than the three hour window; bleeding in the brain; blood pressure is too high; recent surgery; previous stroke within the past three months; seizure onset with the present stroke.
Other medications used to prevent recurrent strokes include agents such as: Anti-platelet agents; aspirin, Aggrenox, Plavix, and Ticlid. The anti-coagulating drug agents are Heparin, which is given in the hospital and Coumadin. Coumadin is taken in a pill form and can be given to the patients when they are discharged from the hospital.
Another type of treatment involves surgery. The major arteries in the neck (Carotid Arteries) if blocked can cause a stroke. A surgical procedure known as a Carotid Endarterectomy can be performed if there is symptomatic disease and the artery is at least 70% blocked.
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