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Treatments for Stroke

Treatments for Stroke:

The most effective stroke treatment plan uses a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the risk factors for having a stroke or a recurrent stroke. Preventive measures include regular medical care to monitor and address such risk factors as high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and excessive alcohol consumption.

Strokes are often diagnosed and treated in the emergency room setting. Treatment includes the administration of supplemental oxygen aimed at increasing the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the brain tissue. Treatment also involves intensive monitoring and stabilization of vital signs, which may require CPR, advanced life support measures and/or intravenous medications. Breathing may need to be supported by mechanical ventilation. Cardiac rhythm is also monitored and treated as needed.

If a stroke is diagnosed within a few hours and is caused by a clot (ischemic stroke), medications, called thrombolytic drugs, may be given intravenously to dissolve the clot that is obstructing blood flow to the brain. Drugs that stop the formation of new clots (anticoagulants), such as aspirin or heparin, may also be used. Thrombolytic and anticoagulant drugs are not used for a hemorrhagic stroke because they will cause further bleeding into the brain.

For some people a surgical procedure called a carotid endarterectomy may be an option to prevent a stroke or a recurrent stroke. This surgery removes the build- up plaque in the arteries and improves blood flow to the brain. Certain hemorrhagic strokes caused by a brain aneurysm may also be treated with surgery to relieve pressure in the brain and treat the brain aneurysm.

Stroke treatment also generally requires long-term rehabilitation, including physical therapy, to help a person overcome the long-term effects and disability of stroke.

Treatment List for Stroke

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Stroke includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

  • Acute stroke treatments - the treatments that may be used during a stroke.
  • Rehabilitation treatments - the treatments used during recovery from stroke.
  • Positioning the person on the ground, with legs slightly elevated or leaning forward and the head between the knees
  • Adequate sleep
  • Aspirin
  • Clopidrogel
  • Dipyridamole
  • Thrombolysis treatment
  • Alteplase
  • Tissue plasminogen activator
  • Thrombectomy
  • Angioplasty
  • Stenting
  • Management in a stroke unit where possible
  • Analgesia - in both acute and recovery phase. Musculoskeletal pain is often under recognised in stroke patients
    • Paracetamol
    • NSAID's - with caution due to gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and renal side effects
    • Opiate analgesics - small doses regularly often effective
  • Preventative therapy - after TIA or completed stroke
    • Cease smoking
    • Treat hypertension - antihypertensive medication, weight loss, exercise
    • Treat hyperlipidemia - Lipid lowering agents, dietary management
    • Anti-platelet therapy - aspirin, clopidigrel
    • Management of atrial fibrillation - anticoagulation with warfarin
    • Carotid endarterectomy
    • Carotid stenting
  • Palliative management concentrating in symptom control rather than active intervention may be appropriate if the stroke is extensive, or the patient has severe comorbidities which make a meaningful quality of life an unlikely outcome

Alternative Treatments for Stroke

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Stroke may include:

Stroke: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Stroke may include:

Hidden causes of Stroke may be incorrectly diagnosed:

Stroke: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Stroke:

Stroke: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Hospital statistics for Stroke:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Stroke:

  • 942,000 hospital discharges were due to strokes in the US 2002 (2002 National Hospital Discharge Survey, NCHS, CDC)
  • average length of hospital stay for strokes was 5.3 days in the US 2002 (2002 National Hospital Discharge Survey, NCHS, CDC)
  • 0.069% (8,819) of hospital consultant episodes were for subarachnoid haemorrhage in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 79% of hospital consultant episodes for subarachnoid haemorrhage required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 37% of hospital consultant episodes for subarachnoid haemorrhage were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Stroke

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Stroke:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Stroke, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Stroke:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Stroke:

Discussion of treatments for Stroke:

NINDS Stroke Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

Generally, there are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy immediately after stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation. Therapies to prevent stroke are based on treating an individual's underlying risk factors. Acute stroke therapies try to stop a stroke while it is happening. Post-stroke rehabilitation is to overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage. Medication or drug therapy is the most common treatment for stroke. Surgery can be used to prevent stroke, to treat acute stroke, or to repair vascular damage or malformations in and around the brain. For most stroke patients, physical therapy is the cornerstone of the rehabilitation process. Another type of therapy involving relearning daily activities is occupational therapy (OT). OT also involves exercise and training to help the stroke patient relearn everyday activities such as eating, drinking and swallowing, dressing, bathing, cooking, reading and writing, and toileting. Speech therapy is appropriate for patients who have no deficits in cognition or thinking, but have problems understanding speech or written words, or problems forming speech. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Stroke Information Page: NINDS)

Stroke: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Strokes caused by blood clots can be treated with clot-busting drugs such as TPA (tissue plasminogen activator). TPA must be given within 3 hours of the start of a stroke to be effective, and tests must be done first. This is why it is so important for a person having a stroke to get to a hospital fast.

Other medicines are used to treat and to prevent stroke. Anticoagulants such as warfarin and antiplatelet agents such as aspirin interfere with the blood's ability to clot and can play an important role in preventing stroke.

Surgery is sometimes used to treat or prevent stroke. For example, carotid endarterectomy is the surgical removal of fatty deposits clogging the carotid artery in the neck that could lead to a stroke. For hemorrhagic stroke, surgical treatment may include placing a metal clip at the base of an aneurysm or removing abnormal blood vessels. (Source: excerpt from Stroke: NWHIC)

Stroke: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Rehabilitation is a very important part of recovery for many stroke survivors. The effects of stroke may mean that you must change, relearn or redefine how you live. Stroke rehabilitation is designed to help you return to independent living.

Rehabilitation doesn't reverse the effects of a stroke. Its goals are to build your strength, capability and confidence so you can continue your daily activities despite the effects of your stroke. Rehabilitation services may include:

  • physical therapy to restore movement, balance and coordination

  • occupational therapy to relearn basic skills such as bathing and dressing oneself

  • speech therapy.

(Source: excerpt from Stroke: NWHIC)

Stroke Prevention and Treatment -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

A stroke requires immediate medical care. If you think you are having a stroke, call 911. Research shows that treatment during the first few hours after stroke symptoms appear can be important for the best possible recovery. An emergency doctor or a neurologist (a doctor who diagnoses and treats disorders of the brain and nervous system) will provide emergency treatment. Then a family doctor, internist, or geriatrician can step in and provide continuing care. (Source: excerpt from Stroke Prevention and Treatment -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Stroke Prevention and Treatment -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

Rehabilitation should begin as soon as possible after the patient is stable. It often continues after the patient has gone home. Stroke rehabilitation includes many kinds of therapies: physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve balance and coordination; speech and language therapy; occupational therapy to improve eye-hand coordination and skills needed for tasks such as bathing and cooking. A team of health care experts (physicians, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, and speech and language specialists) coordinates activities for the patient and family.
Rehabilitation progress varies from person to person. For some, recovery is completed within weeks following a stroke; for others, it may take many months or years. Sometimes the damage from a stroke is so serious that the patient does not respond to rehabilitation and makes little or no progress toward recovery. (Source: excerpt from Stroke Prevention and Treatment -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

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