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Stroke Treatments


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


  • Clot-dissolving drugs
    • Given shortly after the start of symptoms—typically given within 3 hours by IV, or intraarterially (IA) within 6 hours
    • Used in carefully selected patients
  • Blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants)
    • Heparin given by vein
    • Oral medication ( warfarin ) given if long-term treatment with blood-thinner is expected
    • Lovenox or other related medications, given subcutaneously (under skin)
  • Antiplatelet drugs

Other drugs are used to:

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:

  • Carotid endarterectomy —fatty deposits are removed from a carotid artery (major arteries in the neck that lead to the brain)
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting —less invasive procedure than carotid endarterectomy; the carotid artery is widened and a mesh tube is placed into the artery to keep it open
  • Extracranial/intracranial bypass—blood supply is rerouted around a blocked artery using a healthy scalp artery
  • Craniotomy—done with a hemorrhagic stroke, to relieve pressure build-up in the brain caused by swelling

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.


  • Physical therapy—to regain as much movement as possible
  • Occupational therapy—assist in every day tasks and self care
  • Speech therapy—to improve swallowing and speech challenges

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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