Why is it important to treat a stroke right away?

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Dr. Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiologist

There are treatments that can be given to persons suffering a stroke to limit the amount of damage that occurs. To be useful, these treatments need to be used as soon as possible after the onset of a stroke. Clot busters, such as TPA, need to be started within 3 to 4.5 hours after the onset of a stroke, so it is critical that stroke victims seek immediate medical attention.

Time is critical when treating stroke patients, says Phaniraj Iyengar, MD, a vascular neurologist at Sunrise Hospital. In this video, he says that certain medications can help, but only for a limited amount of time.

It is important to treat a stroke right away because, during a stroke, brain cells are dying, and if the blood flow to the brain is restored with treatment, the part of the brain that was effected may be able to return to normal. The treatment must be as fast as possible to save as much brain as possible. 

The sooner you seek treatment for stroke, the better your chances of recovery. Neurologist Raul Guisado, MD, of Regional Medical Center in San Jose, explains why and reveals just how long you have to get to the hospital.
Dr. Christopher M. Goshgarian, MD
Psychiatrist (Therapist)

It's extremely important to recognize the signs of stroke and to treat a stroke right away by going to a stroke-certified hospital if a stroke is suspected. One reason for this is doctors' ability to administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is a time-sensitive medication administered in an emergency room that breaks up clots and significantly improves outcomes for people. Every minute of delay presents a potential for the person to lose 1.9 million neurons. There is a 4.5 hour window to administer tPA after the last time the person felt well, so minutes really matter.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Continue Learning about Stroke Treatment

Stroke Treatment

Stroke Treatment

Immediate treatment of a stroke is vital to minimize brain damage and prevent death. Treatments will vary based on the type of stroke -- ischemic or hemorrhagic. A surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy, is often done af...

ter a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor ischemic stroke that was caused by a narrowing of a carotid artery. For hemorrhagic strokes, surgery may be used to control bleeding in the brain or to prevent hemorrhage from occurring again. Medications can assist with a current stroke and help prevent future strokes. Ischemic strokes may be treated with aspirin or other anticoagulants to help increase blood flow in the brain. For hemorrhagic strokes, medications will be used to prevent bleeding. Learn more about stroke treatment with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.