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Ischemic Stroke


An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to part of your brain is blocked. The block is usually caused by a blood clot that gets stuck in a narrow blood vessel. When oxygen cannot get to an area of the brain, tissue in that area may get damaged. The damage can cause loss of body functions controlled by that area of the brain. A stroke is a medical emergency that needs immediate treatment. Most medicines and treatments work best the sooner they are given.

Ischemic Stroke


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


  • Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
  • Blood thinners help thin your blood to prevent clots from forming. You may need to continue taking these after you leave the hospital. You will get instructions on how and when to take the medicine. You will also get safety instructions to prevent bleeding or bruising that can happen with blood thinners.
  • Thrombolytics help break apart clots. A medicine called tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) may be used to dissolve clots. tPA works best if given within 3 hours of an ischemic stroke. tPA can improve recovery within 3 months, but it can increase the risk for brain bleeding or other life-threatening health problems. Your healthcare provider will talk to you or family members about all risks and benefits of tPA.
  • Other medicines may be given to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. You may also need medicine to decrease pain, reduce brain pressure, or prevent seizures. Medicines may be given to help prevent vomiting.


  • CT or MRI pictures may show where the stroke happened and any damage you have. You may be given contrast liquid to help your skull and brain show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • An arteriography is used to take x-rays of your arteries to look for blood flow blockage.
  • Blood tests may be needed while you are being treated for your stroke. These tests can tell healthcare providers if you are getting the right amount of medicine. The tests may include a check for diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk for a stroke.
  • A carotid ultrasound uses sound waves to show the blood flow in your carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are blood vessels in your neck that carry blood to your brain. A carotid ultrasound checks for narrow or blocked carotid arteries.
  • A swallow study is used to take x-rays as you swallow certain foods and drinks. This test shows if you can swallow food and liquid.


  • A neuro exam may show how well your brain works after a stroke. Healthcare providers will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
  • An ICP monitor measures the pressure inside your skull. A small tube is put through your skull and connected to a screen.
  • Cardiac (heart) monitoring is used to check for problems such as atrial fibrillation or a rhythm problem. A heart condition can lead to or worsen a stroke. A heart condition will need to be treated while you are in the hospital. Management of a heart condition may also be part of your stroke rehabilitation plan.


  • Pressure stockings or inflatable boots may be placed on your legs to create pressure. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
  • Therapy can help you recover speech and movement abilities. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities. A speech therapist helps you with speaking and safe swallowing skills. You will continue rehabilitation therapy after you leave the hospital.
  • A feeding tube may be needed if you cannot swallow food or liquids.
  • Surgery may be needed to remove the clot. You may also need surgery to widen arteries or to place a filter into a blood vessel. This surgery helps to improve blood flow and prevent clots.


Even with treatment, you may have lasting problems talking, thinking, or moving your body.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.