Stroke therapy

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By Carolyn D Brockington MD

Since the US Food and Drug Administration approval of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for use in acute ischemic stroke in June 1996, the approach to stroke treatment has changed dramatically. Acute ischemic stroke is now categorized as an emergency and requires rapid assessment and intervention in order to reduce the degree of brain injury and subsequent functional impairment. In addition to acute therapeutic interventions, a number of medical and surgical strategies have been devised to prevent the occurrence of stroke. By identifying patients at high risk and initiating appropriate therapy, up to 50% of strokes can be prevented.