Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Brain Stroke Treatment

Treatment for stroke depends on the type of stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) and how long the patient has had stroke symptoms. This is why it is very important that a person seek medical care immediately when stroke symptoms develop. This gives the doctor adequate time to image the brain, determine the type of stroke, and plan the most effective treatment strategy.

Regardless of the type, the general treatment for stroke includes oxygen therapy and heart monitoring. Treatment for an ischemic stroke may include blood thinner medications or thrombolytic therapy, while treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke may require surgery.

After the stroke, additional treatment may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation.

Treatment for an ischemic stroke may include:

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Heart monitoring
  • Intravenous fluids
  • Blood thinner medications for ischemic stroke
  • Thrombolytic therapy for ischemic stroke:
    • Alteplase (TPA)
    • Must be given within 4.5 hours of symptom onset in order to be effective
    • Cannot be administered to those with risk for bleeding in the brain.
    • May reverse stroke symptoms in up to one-third who have had an ischemic stroke, but can cause bleeding in 6% of patients.
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy for stroke
  • Occupational therapy for stroke

Treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke may include

Brain Stroke Drugs

Drugs used in the treatment for an ischemic stroke include:

Drugs used for the treatment of a hemorrhagic stroke include:

Brain Stroke Long Term Care

Long-term care for a stroke may include:

  • Physical therapy for stroke
  • Occupational therapy for stroke
  • Speech therapy for stroke
  • Blood thinner medication for stroke:

The major goals of rehabilitation programs for a stroke include:
  • Limit the effects of stroke on the body functions.
  • Limit the psychological impact of the stroke.
  • Lower the risk of recurrent stroke.

Brain Stroke Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of stroke.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • Will I need occupational therapy?
  • Will I need speech therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having another stroke?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Brain Stroke Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat a stroke:

Brain Stroke Surgery

In most cases, surgery is not used to treat a stroke, because brain tissue is destroyed quickly when the blood flow is blocked to an area of the brain.

Exceptions include:

  • Surgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm that has caused bleeding into the brain.
  • Carotid endarterectomy:
    • Usually performed after a TIA to reduce the risk for stroke
    • Procedure removes tissue that blocks the flow of blood inside of the arteries
    • May prevent further strokes due to carotid artery disease
  • Carotid artery stent:
    • Placement of a mesh-like stent into the artery to open it up
    • May reduce risk of stroke due to carotid artery disease

Continue to Brain Stroke Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 13, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Brain Stroke References
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  2. Hoppe C. Defining stroke risk in children with sickle cell anaemia. Br J Haematol. 2005 Mar;128(6):751-66. [15755278]
  3. Ingall T. Stroke--incidence, mortality, morbidity and risk. J Insur Med. 2004;36(2):143-52. [15301227]
  4. Kim H, Friedlander Y, Longstreth WT Jr, Edwards KL, Schwartz SM, Siscovick DS. Family history as a risk factor for stroke in young women. Am J Prev Med. 2004 Dec;27(5):391-6. [15556739]
  5. Sacco RL, Sivenius J, Diener HC. Efficacy of aspirin plus extended-release dipyridamole in preventing recurrent stroke in high-risk populations. Arch Neurol. 2005 Mar;62(3):403-8. [15767505]
  6. Smeeth L, Thomas SL, Hall AJ, Hubbard R, Farrington P, Vallance P. Risk of myocardial infarction and stroke after acute infection or vaccination. N Engl J Med. 2004 Dec 16;351(25):2611-8. [15602021]
  7. Weber MA. Managing the patient at risk for a second stroke. J Hypertens Suppl. 2005 Apr;23(1):S41-7. [15821451]
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