Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA)

Tissue plasminogen activator otherwise known as tPA, can be used within the first three hours (possibly up to four and a half hours based on recent research)following an ischemic stroke to help lessen the damage from stroke and reduce disability. tPA is a FDA approved, clot busting drug that can dissolve blood clots found in ischemic stroke. The sooner tPA is administered after stroke symptoms begin, the better the chance for recovery so it is imperative to seek medical attention quickly if experiencing stroke-like or even mild stroke symptoms.

Tissue plasminogen activator is not indicated for treatment in hemorrhagic strokes which cause bleeding in the brain. tPA is not used in this type of stroke because it could increase the amount of bleeding and cause more damage to the brain. One must consult a physician to determine what type of stroke he or she is having and to find out if tPA can be used.

tPA is given intravenously via an IV. It travels through the bloodstream and dissolves clots allowing the blood to flow once again. If given tPA, one will be monitored for the next 24 hours in an ICU setting. The biggest risk with tPA is hemorrhage or bleeding in the brain or other parts of the body. Not everyone can use tPA. You may not be able to use it if the following apply:

recent heart attack
bleeding problems
head injury within the past 3 months
use of blood thinners
surgery within the past 14 days
recent blood in your urine or stools

NOTE: All material on this website is for informational purposes only and does not represent professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or care, nor is intended to be a substitute. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider concerning questions you have regarding your health or a loved one's health concerns.

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