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The Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke - Oren Zarif - Treatment of Stroke

The long-term prognosis after a stroke depends on several factors, including the patient's age, location and severity of stroke, and any underlying medical conditions. In general, the stroke patient recovers from its symptoms within three to six months, but progress in mental function tends to slow down after this period. The health care team will provide recommendations for maximizing recovery and reducing the risk of certain complications. After stroke, the patient may continue to recover on their own, or they may require a combination of medications and therapy.

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One treatment option is a blood clot-dissolving drug, known as tPA. This drug works with the body's own chemicals to dissolve the blood clot, restoring blood flow to the brain. It reduces disability from stroke by 30 percent, but also has serious side effects, including bleeding inside the brain. It is only suitable for some patients, however. As with any medical treatment, tPA has potential side effects, including the risk of bleeding inside the brain.

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In some cases, surgery is necessary for a patient to recover from a stroke. In a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood clot can obstruct the arteries leading to the brain, resulting in a severe stroke. Surgical clipping can eliminate the clot, but this procedure is not recommended for people suffering from delayed stroke. Stroke patients should stay in the hospital for a day or two while the treatment process occurs.

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Symptoms of a stroke include sudden weakness in one or both arms, or numbness in the face or leg. Patients who experience any of these symptoms are advised to seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. Other signs of a stroke include confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding, or difficulty seeing in one or both eyes. There may also be a sudden severe headache without any known cause and loss of consciousness. There are many treatments for stroke, but the initial treatment is supportive.

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Imaging tests are an important part of the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. CT scans produce a 3-dimensional picture of the brain and are very useful for confirming or ruling out ischemic stroke. A CT scan may not reveal the symptoms of a stroke until about 12 to 24 hours after the onset of the symptoms. Furthermore, a CT scan is also a good way to rule out hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain.

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Some stroke patients may require therapy to improve their ability to walk or perform daily activities. During ischemic stroke, a doctor will prescribe clot-busting medications to increase the chances of recovery. Patients with a stroke may also need to undergo physical therapy, such as physiotherapy. The doctor will consider several factors, such as the patient's lifestyle and available caregivers, before recommending a treatment plan. This will allow the patient to return to their normal life as quickly as possible.

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The most effective treatment for ischemic stroke depends on the speed at which the patient reaches the hospital. A stroke resulting from a transient ischemic attack is not treated in the same way as an ischemic stroke, and will require hospitalization if the patient is unconscious. If this is the case, the patient should call 9-1-1 immediately for help. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chances of survival.

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Several experimental and clinical trials could greatly impact the treatment of ischemic stroke. These studies focus on recanalization, thrombolysis, neuroprotection, and neurorepair. Sacks D., et al., are the authors of the multisociety consensus quality improvement guidelines. This review summarizes key findings from the recent clinical trials. Once approved, the recommendations may guide the treatment of stroke.

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Physical therapy is another type of treatment for a stroke patient. It involves using a specialized device to help the patient move and function. Physical therapists also help patients develop and improve sexual relationships. A GP may refer a patient to a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist, if needed. Patients may be prescribed medicines or cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy involves changing thoughts and behaviors, which may result in improved physical function.

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Ischemic stroke results from thrombotic or embolic occlusion of an intracranial artery. Intravenous fibrinolysis using tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is a commonly prescribed treatment. While this is highly effective, it also has a high risk of secondary hemorrhage. The drug has a short therapeutic window and has to be given within three hours of the onset of stroke.

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