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Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked and blood flow is stopped. The blockage may be from a blood clot.

A clot that forms in an artery is called a thrombus. A clot that forms in the heart or an artery leading to the brain is an embolus.

In ischemic stroke, the clot travels to the brain and blocks a brain artery. Oxygen is then reduced or completely cut off to that part of the brain.

Causes of Isc​hemic Stroke

Ischemic stroke has many different causes. The doctor must find the cause of the stroke to know what treatment is best for you.

Below is a list of the complications that may cause ischemic stroke:

  • Hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis
  • Narrowing of one of the main arteries in the neck, or carotid disease
  • Small vessel disease, or lacunar infarction
  • Infection or inflammation of brain arteries
  • Irregular heart beat, or atrial fibrillation
  • Heart attack, or myocardial infarction
  • Small hole in the heart chamber wall, or atrial septal defect
  • Blood clotting disorder, or hypercoagulability

Treatment of Ischemic Stroke

The blood clot-dissolving drug tPA can be given intravenously, within four-and-a-half hours after the first sign of symptoms of an Ischemic stroke.

Intra-arterial tPA or mechanical thrombectomy — advanced treatments available at the UPMC Stroke Institute — can be administered to select patients within eight to ten hours after symptoms begin.

Learn more about stroke treatments at the UPMC Stroke Institute. »​

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, please call 412-232-8840 or complete a contact form.

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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.

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