Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of disability. Strokes are most commonly caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.
The treatment for ischemic stroke is clot removal. Doctors can accomplish this with medication given through an IV or removal of the clot through an endovascular procedure.
Treatment with Alteplase IV r-tPA
A clot busting medication called alteplase is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. Doctors administer Alteplase through an IV in the arm, dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived. The sooner the medication is administered, the better the chance of a good outcome.
An endovascular procedure or a mechanical thrombectomy is a recommended treatment to remove a clot in eligible patients with a large vessel occlusion in the brain. In this procedure, neurosurgeons use a device called a stent retriever. The stent opens and grabs the clot. Special suction tubes may also remove the clot. Research has shown that those physicians who perform a higher number of thrombectomies have better outcomes. The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Brigham and Women’s offers patients access to expert physicians available 24/7 who have the experience of performing a high volume of thrombectomies.
Stroke patients discharged home receive a follow-up phone call within 7 days of discharge regarding their stroke admission. Ninety-seven percent of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with the personalized , expert stroke care and compassionate treatment they received at BWH.