Navigate Up

​Stroke Treatment Options

Having a stroke is an emergency situation.

Someone suffering a stroke needs immediate treatment to:

  • Dissolve the clot causing an ischemic stroke.

                                        or

  • Stop the bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke.

Other interventions during an acute stroke include:

  • Providing adequate oxygen.
  • Administering glucose.
  • Taking precautions to prevent choking.

Other stroke care aims to:

  • Reduce the chance of subsequent strokes.
  • Improve functioning.
  • Overcome disabilities.

Therapies for Treating Stroke

When a large artery is blocked or occluded, advanced therapies are used to restore blood flow and help improve outcomes. Examples of advanced therapies include:

  • Intra-arterial clot-dissolving drugs.
  • Mechanical clot removal devices to loosen and remove clots.
  • Opening of occluded/blocked vessels with stents.

Stroke therapies include:

  • Clot-dissolving drugs given within three hours of the onset of symptoms. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is given through a vein after the doctor has confirmed the stroke's cause, and there is no evidence of bleeding.
  • Interventional treatment is for patients who present with stroke outside of the window for IV tPA or who are not able to receive the treatment due to a medical condition or medications they take. 
     
    This treatment involves a procedure similar to a cardiac catheterization. A specially trained stroke doctor may suggest an interventional procedure in which catheters are inserted through the groin and navigated up to the arteries in the brain. 
     
    Several options for treatment are available; these are referred to as intra-arterial therapies. They can include:
    • Injection of clot busting medication.
    • Use of devices to mechanically remove the clot that is blocking an artery.
    • Stent or balloon angioplasty to open blocked arteries.

Additional therapies are used to:

  • Control blood pressure.
  • Reduce the chance of additional clot formation (aspirin or similar medications).
  • Reduce brain swelling.
  • Correct irregular heart rhythm.

 

Make an Appointment

Call the UPMC Stroke Institute at 412-232-8840 to schedule an appointment with a UPMC stroke specialist.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com