Treatments for Stroke
Atrium Medical Center's Advanced Primary Stroke Center is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of specialists who provide various treatments for ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.
Treatments for Ischemic Stroke
Strokes caused by blood clots — ischemic strokes — are the most common. An artery to the brain becomes blocked and stops the flow of blood to the brain. Immediate treatment focuses on restoring blood flow.
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA)
The clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can be infused intravenously (through a tube in a vein) at Atrium Medical Center to prevent stroke damage. tPA can dissolve the clot and restore the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. The drug must be given as soon as possible after stroke symptoms begin, ideally within three to four-and-a- half hours. That’s why it is essential to get immediate emergency medical help if you notice the warning signs of a stroke. tPA occurs naturally in the body as an enzyme made by cells in blood vessel walls. Atrium Medical Center stroke specialists use a genetically engineered version, which was first employed in the treatment of blood clots in the heart.
Advanced Treatment Options at Miami Valley Hospital
While tPA is the most common form of treatment for ischemic stroke, some patients at Atrium Medical Center require advanced options. Endovascular stroke rescue procedures such as intra-arterial catheter reperfusion, the Solitaire revascularization device and 5Max™ ACE clot removal device are available around the clock at Miami Valley Hospital. Patients are transferred from Atrium to Miami Valley via CareFlight Air and Mobile Services.
Treatments for Hemorrhagic Stroke
Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The blood accumulates, increasing pressure inside the skull and compressing the brain tissue. Immediate treatment focuses on controlling bleeding and pressure inside the skull. Conditions that can lead to bleeding in the brain — and a stroke — include high blood pressure, trauma, brain aneurysms, brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and certain tumors.
Treatment at Miami Valley Hospital
The treatment of bleeding in the brain requires specialized training and technology available at Miami Valley Hospital. Neurointerventional specialists offer several unique procedures to control bleeding in the brain, including coil embolization, aneurysm clipping and a pipeline embolization device, as techniques to treat hemorrhagic stroke. Patients who need this care are transferred from Atrium to Miami Valley Hospital via CareFlight Air and Mobile Services.
Repair of a brain aneurysm using coil embolization is a minimally invasive procedure performed by a neurointerventionalist who repairs the aneurysm without opening the skull. During the procedure, the specialist manipulates a catheter through the arteries, starting in the leg, to ultimately insert tiny coils to treat the aneurysm. The coils fill the aneurysm and prevent blood from entering, eventually causing a clot to form to seal off the aneurysm.
Aneurysm clipping is reserved for brain aneurysms that are not easily treated with coil embolization. This procedure involves opening the skull and inserting a tiny clamp at the base of the aneurysm, which stops blood flow to the aneurysm.
For specific brain aneurysms, our neurointerventional team can insert a pipeline embolization device, a mesh tube that diverts blood flow away from the aneurysm to promote clotting of the aneurysm over time.
We also offer additional treatments for delayed effects of a brain hemorrhage for both relief of symptoms and prevention of additional damage to brain cells, including:
- Surgery – both to relieve pressure inside the head and to remove excess blood in areas where it may cause further damage – using procedures such as EVD (external ventricular drain), hematoma evacuation and hemicraniectomy
- Medications such as calcium channel blockers to prevent complications from lack of blood flow to the brain after a rupture
- Injections (in a vein) of a medication called a vasopressor to prevent a stroke
- Injections through a catheter (tube) to deliver drugs called vasodilators to decrease pressure on the brain
- Anti-seizure medications to treat seizures related to a stroke
- Surgeries to open blocked veins that drain blood from the brain
Content Updated: December 3, 2014