Ischemic Stroke Treatment

The type of therapy administered depends on many factors, including age and general physical health as well as the severity and location of the stroke. The main goal of ischemic stroke therapies is to remove the blockage in the brain.

Emergency Therapies

Thrombolytic agent

  • This clot-busting medication helps dissolve the blood clot that is blocking a cerebral vessel. This will help restore the blood flow in the brain.
  • It is also known as tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).
  • t-PA is not safe for everyone and must be administered within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms.

Neuro-protective agents

  • These medications minimize the damage caused by brain  cell death associated with stroke.

Preventative and /or Maintenance Medications

Anticoagulants / Antiplatelets

  • Anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin) and antiplatelets (e.g., aspirin) may be prescribed.
  • These medications hinder the blood's ability to clot.  
  • Other medications may be given in order to relieve pain, increase blood flow, control seizures, and reduce fever and blood sugar levels.

Surgical Therapies

The type of surgery recommended by your physician depends on various factors. Some surgical methodologies include:

Carotid Endarterectomy

Microsurgical Techniques: Brain Bypass Surgery

  • This microsurgery creates a new path for blood to flow through the brain, particularly in areas that have been depleted of blood.
  • Another vessel usually is grafted to the cerebral artery to create this new path.
  • Microsurgical techniques allow Emory's experienced neurosurgeons to perform with optimal precision, resulting in less risk and better outcomes for the patient.
  • Want to know more? Talk to someone at Emory about this procedure.

Endovascular Procedures (Interventional Neuroradiology)

  • Interventional neuroradiological procedures are a less-invasive means of treating neurovascular disorders.
  • They use very small catheters, called microcatheters, to treat problems inside blood vessels.
  • The microcatheter is inserted into the vessels through a tiny puncture in the groin, where an interventional neuroradiologist can reach almost any vessel in the brain or spinal cord.
  • These endovascular approaches can be used to open narrowed or blocked arteries, dissolve clots in brain arteries, repair certain aneurysms, and close abnormal blood vessels that are at risk of bleeding.
  • These methods often avoid the need for more invasive surgery.
  • Learn more here.

Endovascular Thrombolysis

  • In this procedure, a neurosurgeon threads a microcatheter from an artery in the groin to a blocked artery in the brain.
  • Clot-busting medications are injected into the artery to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain faster than many other medications.
  • Want to know more? Talk to someone at Emory about this procedure.

Cerebral Angioplasty and Stenting

  • This procedure helps widen a blocked artery.
  • A catheter with a balloon at the end is inserted into the obstructed artery and the balloon is inflated, pushing the plaque against the walls.
  • A stent, or a mesh steel brace, then is inserted to keep fatty buildup from clogging the vessel.
  • Want to know more? Talk to someone at Emory about this procedure.

Continuing Care

After emergency treatment for ischemic stroke, a physician will likely recommend:

Time-sensitive therapies

If treated within three hours, clot-busting medications can reduce the risk of long-term disability.

Stroke Podcasts

Find out more about interventional neuroradiology and Emory's nationally renowned Neurosciences. Download a podcast here to watch and learn.

Time and Experience

Emory's Stroke Center includes three of the region's most experienced interventional neuroradiologists. They perform more neuroradiological procedures combined than any other team in the Southeast. Learn more about them here.