New Emergency Treatments for Stroke

Thrombolytic or "clot-busting" drugs offer an emergency treatment option for some people who are having a stroke. These medications, which include an agent called a tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), halt the stroke by dissolving the blood clot that is blocking blood flow to the brain.

Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) is a genetically engineered form of t-PA. This drug only works if it is given intravenously within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. It poses risks to patients who are taking blood-thinners or who have recently undergone surgery or trauma.

Providence Stroke Center is currently comparing different methods of giving t-PA to stroke patients, with the goal of extending the window of time during which the drug can be given and making the treatment safer for more patients.

Current research includes comparing the safety and effectiveness of administering t-PA with a catheter or with a combination of catheter and IV. Read a physician-level summary of this research to date in the attached PDF.

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