Recombinant Tissue Plasminogen Activator and Stroke Treatment

Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a medicine that can break up blood clots. Blood clots can block blood flow to the brain. This can cause stroke problems (symptoms). Recombinant tPA may help if you get it within the first few hours after your problems start. Some people cannot get this medicine. This medicine does not decrease your chance of having a stroke in the future.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • Your doctor will do an exam. It is very important to know when your problems started. This helps your doctor decide if recombinant tPA might help you.

  • Your blood pressure, heartbeat, and breathing (vital signs) are checked.

  • A head scan (CT scan) may be done. This scan is done to make sure there is no bleeding.

  • You will stop taking certain medicines, such as blood thinners.

  • Medicines are given to adjust your blood pressure if needed.

  • Samples of your blood may be taken for some tests.

  • Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of recombinant tPA.

PROCEDURE

  • Recombinant tPA is usually given through a vein. In some cases, it may be given through a thin tube (catheter) in the groin.

  • Medicines are given to control blood pressure if needed.

  • Your blood pressure, heartbeat, and breathing are checked.

  • You will be watched very closely. Your doctor will check to see how you are responding to the treatment.

  • If recombinant tPA causes bleeding, it will be stopped. Other treatment will be started.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

  • You will be watched very closely. You will be in the intensive care unit (ICU) or the stroke unit.

  • You may need to stop taking medicines that affect how your blood clots for 24 hours.

  • A head scan may need to be done 24 hours after you get recombinant tPA.

  • Your brain will be checked very closely to see how it is working.

  • It may take days, weeks, or months to fully see how your body responds to recombinant tPA.