Written By Diana Kwon
In an ischemic stroke a clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain, depriving oxygen and nutrients to part of the crucial organ. Without immediate treatment this can cause irreversible tissue damage, leading to complications ranging from behavioral changes to paralysis. Stroke is the fifth-highest cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of long-term disability. Ischemic strokes are the most common type, accounting for more than 80 percent of all cases.
Until recently the only treatment available for ischemic stroke was tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, a protein that can dissolve blood clots if injected up to four and a half hours after stroke onset. Care has improved dramatically in the last few years as advances in thrombectomy—surgical clot removal—have allowed doctors to clear larger blockages and treat patients up to 24 hours after symptoms began. Read more.
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