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Your Healthy Family: Stroke Types and Treatment - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Stroke Types and Treatment

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Time in the most important factor in treating a stroke. Once 9-1-1 has been called, doctors at the hospital have two treatment options.

Dr. Janice Miller is a stroke-trained neurologist at UCHealth Memorial and she says, "The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, a blockage in the blood vessel causing symptoms.  Ischemic stroke accounts for about 85% of all strokes, and we have a very effective medicine to treat it, called TPA, or tissue plasminogen activator.  Basically TPA is a clot busting drug, but it's a time-dependent medication that needs to be given within four and half hours after stroke symptoms first begin.  The goal is to reverse deficits and give them a chance of going home."

Outside of that four and half hour time window of the onset of symptoms, a stroke is usually caused by a blockage in a large artery; there is another treatment option.

Dr. Miller says, "A blockage in a large artery in the base of the brain and neck account for only 25% of strokes, but they are very devastating strokes.  The most effective treatment for a large artery stroke is called endovascular therapy.  We inject a catheter into the circulation, and that catheter will travel toward the brain, close to the clot and then a stent retriever that looks like a corkscrew can extract the clot restoring circulation and hopefully improving neurological function."  

Treating a large vessel stroke with medical treatment inside of the four-and-a-half hour time window may include both the clot busting drug - TPA - and endovascular therapy to try and pull the clot out of the vessel.

The biggest take away when it comes to being aware of stroke symptoms is not what what kind of stroke is occurring or how doctors will treat it, but to act on stroke symptoms quickly,  err on the side of caution, and call 9-1-1 even for those who live close to the hospital.

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