Stroke Treatment Options

When a stroke happens, every second counts

Seeking emergency treatment immediately after the onset of symptoms of stroke is crucial. Stroke patients who receive emergency care right away can avoid or greatly reduce the effects of stroke.

Minimally invasive treatment

Minimally invasive procedures result in less pain and faster recovery for patients. Stroke treatments include:

  • Thrombolytic therapy (IV Alteplase) — also known as IV tPA or intravenous tissue plasminogen activator — is the frontline treatment for acute ischemic stroke. It’s been shown to improve quality of patient care and outcomes. Eligible patients must be treated with this clot-busting medication within 4.5 hours of symptom onset. Scripps has been recognized with the Target: Stroke Elite Plus Honor Roll and the Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll award by the American Stroke Association for using thrombolytic therapy within 60 minutes in 75 percent or more of applicable acute ischemic stroke patients.
  • Thrombectomy/embolectomy procedures remove a clot from the brain within the first few hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke. This catheter-based treatment using stent retrievers offers excellent outcomes for acute stroke patients with blockages of large blood vessels that feed the brain, according to landmark global studies published in 2015. Scripps has been treating patients with these evidence-based procedures for more than 5 years.

Scripps neurointerventional surgeons use small catheters guided by advanced imaging technology to treat stroke. Performed under general anesthesia, this minimally invasive approach reduces the need for large surgical incisions and often reduces the length of time spent in the hospital.

  • Re-opening narrowed arteries. A buildup of plaque in the artery (atherosclerosis) may decrease blood flow to the brain, or plaque may break loose and block a smaller vessel leading to the brain. In these cases, the neurointerventional surgeon may re-open the narrowed artery by compressing the plaque against the wall of the artery or inserting a stent to keep the pathway open. This treatment can also be used to prevent strokes. Procedures include:

    • Carotid angioplasty and stenting
    • Vertebral artery angioplasty
    • Intracranial stenting
  • Embolizing agents may be used to treat hemorrhagic stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. An interventional radiologist may use an X-ray-guided catheter to deliver a medication that clots the blood or closes off the broken vessel. Tiny platinum coils may be left in the vessel to block abnormal blood flow. This technique may also prevent stroke by treating aneurysms before they rupture. Procedures include:

    • AVM embolization
    • Aneurysm embolization
    • Spinal embolization