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Procedures & Treatment

Research Medical Center offers treatment, when possible, for the removal of a clot for ischemic stroke with the MERCI or Penumbra device.

Treatment for a stroke or TIA depends upon the patient and the prescribed course of action from a stroke specialist. Your stroke team will take steps to stop your stroke. Immediate treatment is needed to:

  • Dissolve a clot causing an ischemic stroke
  • Stop the bleeding during a hemorrhagic stroke

Other treatment aims to:

  • Reduce the chance of later strokes
  • Improve functioning
  • Overcome disabilities

Medications your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Clot-dissolving drugs: given shortly after the start of symptoms; typically given within 3 hours by IV or intra-arterially (IA) within 6 hours only for carefully selected patients
  • Blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants)
  • Antiplatelet drugs

Other drugs are used to:

  • Control blood pressure (labetalol, the first-line drug, or sodium nitroprusside)
  • Reduce the chance of additional clot formation (aspirin or similar medication)
  • Reduce brain swelling
  • Correct irregular heart rhythm (e.g., atrial fibrillation)

Other interventions during an acute stroke:

  • Adequate oxygen
  • Precautions to prevent choking
  • Frequent neurological examinations

Surgery may be performed following a stroke or TIA to prevent a recurrence. Surgical techniques include:

  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting
  • Extracranial/intracranial bypass
  • Craniotomy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife®)

A study was done to compare endarterectomy to stenting. Even though endarterectomy is more invasive, it led to fewer deaths. It also had fewer repeat strokes than stenting within the first six months.

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