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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 Ischemic 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.

Stroke Resources