What is the Treatment for an Ischemic Stroke?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
The human brain, including blood vessels that can be involved in a stroke.
The human brain, including blood vessels that can be involved in a stroke.

The most common treatments for an ischemic stroke are various forms of medication, usually those which dissolve blood clots or thin the blood. Anti-platelet medications may also be used to prevent future clotting from occurring in patients who have had a previous stroke or who are susceptible to strokes. Surgery is typically used for large clots or those which do not respond well to medicinal treatments. Additional therapies may be needed to allow patients to fully recover from post-stroke symptoms.

A diagram of an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.
A diagram of an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.

An ischemic stroke is a condition which occurs when a blood vessel or artery is blocked off by a blood clot. Clots can form either inside the brain itself, or clots or plaque can form elsewhere inside the body and travel upwards into the brain. Symptoms of a stroke can include numbness in the face, head, hands, arms, and legs. Patients may also experience vision changes, slurred speech or other speech problems, confusion, lack of balance, and unusual headache symptoms. Individuals who experience one or more of these symptoms should seek emergency medical care.

Dissolving a blood clot is one treatment for an ischemic stroke.
Dissolving a blood clot is one treatment for an ischemic stroke.

The treatment a health care provider will choose for ischemic stroke will depend on the location and size of the clot. Smaller blood clots may be removed using a medication which dissolves the clot itself or thins the blood. The underlying cause of clotting should then be investigated to prevent additional strokes from occurring.

Additional medications may be needed following a stroke to prevent future occurrences. These usually thin the blood and reduce platelets to cut down on the risk of clotting. Those with underlying health conditions may receive other treatments as well.

The treatment for ischemic stoke depends on the location and size of the clot.
The treatment for ischemic stoke depends on the location and size of the clot.

If an ischemic stroke is caused by a very large clot, medication may be not effective at removing it. When this occurs, surgery is often the most effective treatment. Surgical procedures are generally used to either manually remove the clot or widen the arteries leading to the vein so that blood may move more freely. Medication is often used as a follow-up treatment in order to make surgery more effective.

Ischemic strokes can cause long-term health complications if not quickly treated. Lack of blood flow to the brain for extended periods can lead to permanent brain damage. Strokes are more common among the elderly, but they can also occur in younger individuals. This risk rises in those with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

Discussion Comments

anon358456

Any of the association with the clotting of the blood caused by an ischemic stroke is partially because the vitamin D is not effectively distributed to the energy dependent places in organs and blood carrying proteins. These factors, along with long sitting periods where blood flow is blocked in nerves or in your neck during sleep, is probably an increasing factor of the stroke incident since the flow of the blood is restricted and then released along with the clot of blood in your blood arteries.

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    • The human brain, including blood vessels that can be involved in a stroke.
      By: adimas
      The human brain, including blood vessels that can be involved in a stroke.
    • A diagram of an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.
      By: Alila
      A diagram of an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke.
    • Dissolving a blood clot is one treatment for an ischemic stroke.
      By: ras-slava
      Dissolving a blood clot is one treatment for an ischemic stroke.
    • The treatment for ischemic stoke depends on the location and size of the clot.
      By: JPC-PROD
      The treatment for ischemic stoke depends on the location and size of the clot.