Stroke Treatments

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 06/23/2010

Early treatment can prevent or at least limit damage to the brain. Acting fast, treatment at the first symptoms of brain attack can save your life and avoid damages.

Stroke Treatment

Common stroke treatments are medications, hospital care, surgery, and rehabilitation.

Ischemic stroke treatment - To treat an ischemic stroke, doctors must quickly restore blood flow to your brain. “Clot-busting” drugs must give within three hours after a stroke to minimize damage.

Medicinal treatment

Aspirin is the well-proven treatment after a stroke to reduce the chances of having another stroke. After a stroke in the emergency room, most probably you will get a dose of aspirin. The dosage may vary, if you have taken a daily aspirin for its blood-thinning effect, you want to make a note of it in any convenient way, so that the doctors will know that you already had some aspirin.

Important when taking aspirin: If you are having a hemorrhagic stroke, taking aspirin could worsen the bleeding.
Other blood-thinning medicines, such as warfarin (Coumadin) and heparin may also be useful; still, they are not as common in use as aspirin.

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) - FDA has approved the clot-dissolving medicine tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to treat strokes caused by blood clots. A statistic shows 85 percent of the strokes are callused by Blood clots. Tissue plasminogen activator dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain. It has a risk of causing bleeding in the brain, when an expert doctor uses it properly its benefits outweigh the risks.
Not every stroke patient should treat with tPA. It is extremely important to determine the type of stroke very quickly for effective treatment only if given promptly. It will worsen the bleeding if given to hemorrhagic stroke. For a maximum result, the medication must start within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. Thus, it is critical that healthcare professionals and the public recognize the stroke as a medical emergency and respond quickly.

Surgical treatment

Carotid endarterectomy is a stroke treatment by surgery performs commonly when a fatty buildup called plaque blocks the carotid artery in the neck. This surgical procedure can remove the accumulated plaque.
Cerebral angioplasty is another stroke treatment by surgery technique in which balloons, stents and coils are useful to treat problems with the brain's blood vessels. It is widely used depends on its safety and effectiveness.

Hemorrhagic stroke

Treatment for hemorrhagic stroke depends upon the cause of the bleeding. Its cause may be high blood pressure, use of anticoagulant medications, head trauma, blood vessel malformation. Monitor the patients closely during and after a hemorrhagic stroke. The initial care includes several steps:

  • Finding the cause of the bleeding
  • If high pressure, bring it to normal
  • Stop blood thinning medicines that could increase bleeding (e.g.; warfarin, aspirin)
  • Measure the pressure using a ventriculostomy tube, within the brain area called the ventricle; if high bring it to normal by removing cerebrospinal fluid.

Surgical treatment

Surgery may be useful to treat a hemorrhagic stroke or prevent another stroke. The most common procedures are aneurysm clipping and arteriovenous malformation (AVM) removal. Doctor may recommend these procedures only if you are at high risk of spontaneous aneurysm or AVM rupture:

Aneurysm clipping is by placing a tiny clamp at the base of the aneurysm to isolate it from the circulation of the artery to which it attaches. This procedure can help to keep the aneurysm from bursting, or it can stop re-bleeding of an aneurysm that had recently hemorrhaged. The clip will fold in place permanently.

Coiling (aneurysm embolization) procedure is done by maneuvered a catheter into the aneurysm. Then push a tiny coil through the catheter and positions it inside the aneurysm. In the due course, the coil fills the aneurysm, causing clot and sealing the aneurysm off from the connecting arteries.

Surgical AVM removal is not always possible to remove an AVM if it is too large, or if it is located deep within the brain. However, in the case of a smaller AVM in an easily accessible location of the brain can be removed and eliminate the risk of rupture, lowering the overall risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Rehabilitation therapy Stroke

Recovery and rehabilitation depend on the area of the brain involved, and the amount of tissue damaged.
Treatment following a stroke includes rehabilitation therapies to restore function or help people relearn skills. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy may be included, as well as psychological counseling. Steps to prevent future problems should include smoking cessation, meal planning, daily activity, and medications to manage blood-glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.