Treating acute ischemic stroke

Marc Fisher, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Birgül Bastan, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Document Type Article


Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is a common disorder that has only one associated approved therapy: intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (iv t-PA). A limiting factor to the use of iv t-PA is that it must be initiated within 3 h of stroke onset. Efforts to expand the therapeutic time window are underway and include image evaluation of the ischemic penumbra to target those patients who are most appropriate for treatment. Intra-arterial t-PA is also used only in some treatment centers despite convincing proof of efficacy of this therapy. Devices to restore perfusion that have been approved in the US for recanalization exist, but these are not approved for use in stroke therapy. Many neuroprotective drugs have been evaluated as potential acute stroke therapies, but none have shown efficacy, hence the future of neuroprotection as a strategy for acute ischemic stroke therapy remains uncertain.