Physicians must first determine the cause of the stroke.

If the stroke is caused by a blockage due to a blood clot, caregivers may administer Tissue Plasminogen Activator, or t-PA, a clot-busting drug that must be administered within a few hours of the first apperance of symptoms. Stroke patients who receive t-PA are 55 percent more likely to have little or no disability after three months. That's why it's critical to recognize stroke symptoms and get treatment rapidly.

If the stroke is caused by a hemorrhage, treatment depends on the underlying cause of the bleeding and the extent of damage to the brain. If a hemorrhage is caused by high blood pressure, medicines are given to bring the blood pressure down. If a hemorrhage results from using anticoagulants - or blood thinners - use of these medicines is discontinued immediately and medicine may be administered to reverse the effects and reduce the bleeding.

Surgery to repair the broken blood vessel may be needed to save the patient's life or improve chances of recovery. The type of surgery depends on the cause of the bleeding, which may include arteriovenous malformation or aneurysm.


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