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Stroke secondary to atherosclerosis

  • Treatment

    Go to the emergency room as quickly as possible if you believe you have had or may be having a stroke. Stroke is an acute, serious condition that should be treated immediately. The most important factor in effective treatment for stroke is arriving at the hospital as early as possible from the onset of symptoms.

    The most effective treatment for stroke is intravenous rtPA. This medicine works to dissolve the clot causing the stroke. If received within 3 hours of the first stroke symptoms, the drug can help prevent permanent problems. There is risk of serious bleeding with this treatment so it cannot be used in all cases. 

    Patients who can't be treated with clot-busting drugs will receive supportive treatments such as medicines to control blood pressure and high cholesterol, fluids, and medicines to prevent complications such as infections.

    Patients may also need physical therapy following stroke. Diet changes may be recommended.

    A carotid endarterectomy (removal of plaque from the carotid arteries) may be needed by some people to prevent new strokes.

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Twenty-five percent of people who have a stroke recover most or all of their function.

    However, stroke and its complications can cause death.

    • Pressure sores
    • Permanent loss of movement or sensation of a part of the body
    • Orthopedic complications, fractures, contractures, muscle spasticity
    • Permanent loss of cognitive functions
    • Disruption of communication, decreased social interaction
    • Decreased ability to function or care for self
    • Decreased life span
    • Multi-infarct dementia
    • Side effects of medications

    Calling your health care provider

    Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if symptoms occur indicating a stroke.