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Treatment depends on the type of stroke: ischemic or hemorrhagic.
For this type of stroke, treatment focuses on restoring blood flow to the brain.
You may get a clot-dissolving medicine called tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). This medicine can improve recovery from a stroke, especially if it's given as soon as possible after the stroke happens. Doctors try to give this medicine within 3 hours after symptoms start. Some people may be helped if they are able to get this medicine within 4½ hours of their first symptoms.
You may also get aspirin or another antiplatelet medicine.
In some cases, a procedure may be done to restore blood flow. The doctor uses a thin, flexible tube (catheter) and a tiny cage to remove the blood clot that caused the stroke. This procedure is called a thrombectomy.
For this type of stroke, treatment focuses on controlling bleeding, reducing pressure in the brain, and stabilizing vital signs, especially blood pressure.
To stop the bleeding, you may get medicine or a transfusion of parts of blood, such as plasma. These are given through an IV.
You will be closely watched for signs of increased pressure on the brain. These signs include restlessness, confusion, trouble following commands, and headache. Other measures will be taken to keep you from straining from excessive coughing, vomiting, or lifting, or straining to pass stool or change position.
If the bleeding is from a ruptured brain aneurysm, surgery to repair the aneurysm may be done.
In some cases, medicines may be given to control blood pressure, brain swelling, blood sugar levels, fever, and seizures.
If a large amount of bleeding has occurred and symptoms are quickly getting worse, you may need surgery. The surgery can remove the blood that has built up inside the brain and lower pressure inside the head.
After either kind of stroke and after your condition is stable, treatment shifts to preventing future strokes and other problems and to your recovery.
You may need to take a number of medicines to control conditions that put you at risk for stroke. These conditions include high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. Some people need to have surgery to remove plaque buildup from the blood vessels that supply the brain (carotid arteries).
A stroke rehabilitation (rehab) program can help you regain skills you lost. Or it can help you make the most of your remaining abilities.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.