tPA, Clot-Busting and Clot Removal

Quickly restoring blood flow to the brain is critical in the event of ischemic stroke, when an obstruction develops in a blood vessel supplying the brain. Both medications and procedures may be used to remove the blockage.

Intravenous Tissue Plasminogen Activator (IV tPA)

During the first few hours following an ischemic stroke, intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) and other drugs may be used in select patients to remove or dissolve clots. Around the clock, a team of stroke specialists at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin is available with extensive experience in rapidly administering tPA. Patient outcome statistics show that we are leaders among Wisconsin hospitals in administering tPA.

  Clot-Removing Device
Clot-Removing Device
The dark streak in the mesh tube is a blood clot extracted with a clot-removing device during endovascular treatment. The procedure is used to restore blood flow to the brain when stroke patients arrive at the hospital too late for effective use of IV tPA or if IV tPA is not appropriate for them.
 

Endovascular Treatment and Clot-Removing Devices

If patients arrive at the hospital too late for effective use of IV tPA or if IV tPA is not appropriate for them, physicians may use endovascular surgery procedures or neuro-interventional techniques to remove the clot. Endovascular procedures are those performed from inside the blood vessel. 

They involve navigating a small catheter (a hollow plastic tube) through the blood vessels to the location of the blockage. After the catheter is positioned within the blocked artery, tPA can be injected to dissolve the clot. Alternatively, a device can be used to suction the clot (aspiration) or trap the clot and remove it (retrieval). Our involvement in clinical trials at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin means we bring the latest clot-busting technology and practices to stroke patients.

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