When a Stroke Occurs: Rapid Stroke Treatment Can Save Lives
If you’re having a stroke, it’s critical that you get medical attention right away. Immediate treatment may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and prevent death.
There are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic or ischemic.
An ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases.
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and spills blood into brain tissue. The most common cause for the rupture is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure). There are two other types of weakened blood vessels that also cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Treatment differs depending on the type of stroke.
Ischemic Stroke Treatment
Acute Stroke Treatment
There are two ways to treat acute stroke: administration of thrombolytics and mechanical thrombectomy.
Thrombolytics are medications use in the treatment of a stroke that are able to dissolve blood clots. Examples are Tenecteplase (TNK) and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The advantage of these are that they can stop the stroke progression and reduce disability. The patient must seek emergency treatment right away, because it must be given within 4.5 hours after symptoms start.
Mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure where we are able to locate and remove the blockage or blood clot within brain or neck vessels, has been proven to save lives and prevent major disabilities.
Another treatment option is an endovascular procedure in which specially trained doctors at Cooper University Hospital try removing the blood clot by sending a catheter to the site of the blocked blood vessel in the brain. The doctor may attempt to remove the clot using a combination of state-of-the art mechanical thrombectomy devices.
Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment
Endovascular procedures may be used to treat certain hemorrhagic strokes similar to the way the procedure is used for treating an ischemic stroke. These procedures are less invasive than surgical treatments, and involve the use of a catheter introduced through a major artery in the leg or arm, then guided to the aneurysm or AVM; it then deposits a mechanical agent, such as a coil, to prevent rupture. Stents and balloon-assisted treatment can also be performed at Cooper University Hospital. For AVM treatment, liquid embolization with special glue may be used.
For strokes caused by a bleed within the brain (hemorrhagic stroke) or by an abnormal tangle of blood vessels (arteriovascular malformation or AVM), surgical treatment may be done to stop the bleeding. If the bleed is caused by a ruptured aneurysm (swelling of the vessel that breaks), a metal clip may be placed surgically at the base of the aneurysm to secure it.