Targeted Treatment of Stroke
Several effective treatment options are now available for stroke patients. The Stroke Team determines the most appropriate treatment.
Our bodies produce tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), an enzyme that changes the plasminogen in our bodies into another enzyme, which dissolves blood clots. T-PA has been genetically engineered so that it can also be administered intravenously to dissolve the very serious clots associated with stroke. It is available in most hospital emergency departments throughout the United States and is approved for qualifying patients who arrive at the hospital within three hours of symptom onset.
Many patients who receive t-PA within the three-hour window recover with few or no disabilities. However, t-PA does carry a risk of brain hemorrhage. That is why it is only approved for patients who meet specific criteria.
Interventional Stroke Treatment
Interventional cardiologists Ravish Sachar, MD, and Matthew Hook, MD, and endovascular neurosurgeon Kimberly Livingston, MD, offer advanced procedures to prevent strokes and stop them in their tracks.
Special devices are used to remove clots from blocked blood vessels. These devices - the Merci® Retrieval System and the Penumbra System - are often used when stroke patients cannot tolerate t-PA or simply do not respond to it. The Merci retriever is a coil on a catheter that is threaded to the clot in the blood vessel of the brain. The interventionist then advances the coil so that it wraps around the clot. The interventionist can then remove the clot from the body. The Penumbra System uses suction to remove the clot and restore blood flow to the brain.