Information for patients
Stroke is a medical emergency. It is common, and tends to occur in older age groups.
75% of strokes occur in the over 65‘s. The cause is usually due to a blood clot causing a blockage in one of the blood vessels in the brain but sometimes is due to a bleed
If the cause is a blood clots there are now treatments that can be used to either dissolve the clot (thrombolysis) or to take the clot out (thrombectomy). The sooner these treatments can be provided, the greater the chance improving the clinical outcome.
While these treatments are not suitable for everybody, it is important that that anyone suffering a new suspected stroke is seen as emergency in Hospital for assessment.
About “mini strokes” or transient ischaemic attacks (TIA)
Some people have the symptoms of stroke,though the blockage of the blood vessel causing the problem is temporary. This means there is no need for thrombolysis or thrombectomy. These problems are known as “mini strokes” or a transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) and are also an indication for urgent assessment, investigation and treatment either in the emergency department or in a specialist TIA clinic.
Tell me more about emergency stroke treatments
Dissolving the clot (Thrombolysis)
The most common cause of a stroke is a blood clot blocking an artery in the brain. This prevents the blood from taking oxygen to part of the brain and causes damage to brain cells.
Patients with this type of stroke may benefit from a treatment called thrombolysis.
Thrombolysis works by dissolving the clot that has blocked the artery and stopped the supply of blood to part of the brain. The drug is called rt?PA and is given through a drip. The drug works best when given as soon as possible after the stroke.
It is important to be assessed to find out if this might be an option, and to discuss and weigh up the potential benefits and risks to help you and your family make a decision.
Taking the clot out (Thrombectomy)
Mechanical thrombectomy is a highly effective treatment which is used for the subgroup of patients whose stroke is caused by blockage of large arteries in the brain. We provide the mechanical thrombectomy service for the Southwest Peninsula, receiving referrals from the Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust, North Devon District Hospital NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital Foundation Trust and Torbay District Hospital NHS Trust.