Acute Stroke Treatment & Care

Stroke

There are two main types of stroke, thrombotic and hemorrhagic.  A stroke is an injury to the brain caused by loss of blood flow to a portion of the brain or by injury related to bleeding within the brain. 

How are Strokes treated?

The most crucial component of stroke treatment is time.  The faster treatment is administered, the more successful the outcome.  Current FDA-approved therapies include clot-busting medications (tPA) that can be administered intravenously within 3-4.5 hours of symptom onset, as well as certain devices that can break up or remove the clot when applied within 6 hours of symptom onset. 

Currently, the devices used by the Neuro Interventional Radiologists at RRIA include Solitaire Retrieval Device and Trevo.  By placing these devices in specialized catheters through an artery in the groin to the site of the clot in the brain, our physicians can maneuver the devices to break up the clot and remove it from the body.  There are many other devices that are currently under development to aid in stroke treatment.  Click here, Solitaire Clot Retriever to learn about Stroke Treatment from one of our Neuro Interventional Radiologists.

Stroke Facts
  • Stroke is third leading cause of death in the US, behind high blood pressure and cancer.
  • Every 45 seconds someone in the US has a stroke.
  • Every 3 minutes someone dies from a stroke.
  • Nearly half of all stroke fatalities occur before emergency medical personnel arrive.
  • 600,000 Americans will have a new or recurrent stroke each year-of these, 160,000 will die.
  • Strokes can be treated intravenously with the clot-busting drug, tpa (tissue plasminogen activator), if it is given within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms.
  • Persons who have a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, are likely to have another one.
  • TIAs cause brief stroke symptoms that go away. People often ignore these symptoms, but they are an early warning sign.  35 percent of those who experience a TIA will have a full blown stroke if left untreated.
  • Stroke is not just an older person's disease; over 28 percent of strokes occur in people under the age of 65.
  • More men than women have strokes; although more women die from them.
  • African Americans are at much higher risk for stroke. In part, this is because African Americans are at increased risk for obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which increase the risk of stroke.
Stroke Symptoms
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Risk Factors for Stroke - These risk factors can be greatly reduced with healthy lifestyles or medication
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure puts pressure on the arteries, making them more susceptible to rupture and more prone to clot formation.  This can block the artery. High cholesterol can lead to blockage in the carotid artery that takes blood from the neck to the brain. A piece of this plaque can break off and travel to the brain, causing a stroke.
  • Untreated atrial fibrillation causes the heart's upper chamber to beat irregularly, which allows the blood to pool and clot. If a clot breaks off and enters the blood stream to the brain, a stroke will occur.
  • Sickle cell anemia makes red blood cells less able to carry blood to the body's tissues and organs, as well as stick to the walls of the blood vessels. These cells can block arteries to the brain, causing a stroke.
  • Family history
  • Smoking