Tissue Plasminogen Activator (t-PA) is the first line of treatment against strokes caused by clots blocking a blood vessel.
This treatment aims to dissolve, remove or shatter a blood clot that is preventing blood from reaching an area of the brain.
t-PA is injected into the bloodstream through IV and travels in the blood until it reaches the clot that is causing the stroke. Once there, it begins to break up the clot until blood can flow past it toward the affected areas.
Intravenous t-PA cannot be given more than three hours after the onset of a patient’s symptoms for two important reasons:
- It is no longer effective
- It can increase the risk of bleeding inside the brain
This is one of the most important reasons why you should call 911 immediately after experiencing any signs of stroke symptoms.