What treatment is given for a stroke depends upon what type of stroke the patient is suffering from: an ischemic stroke caused by a blocked artery, or a hemorrhagic stroke caused by bleeding directly in the brain. Managing the patient’s blood clotting time, sugar levels, and other key chemicals is all part of stroke treatment.
Hemorrhagic Stroke Treatment
Emergency treatments for hemorrhagic stroke focus first on stopping the bleeding in order to reduce pressure in the patient’s brain as quickly as possible. They may also require surgery to lower future risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Initial Measures. The doctor will determine if the patient is taking warfarin or any antiplatelet drugs. If so, they may be administered medications and/or transfusions containing blood products in order to counter the effects of those drugs. They may also administer drugs designed to lower brain pressure, reduce blood pressure, and prevent arterial spasms and/or seizures.
Healing. After the bleeding in the brain has been stopped, treatment usually focuses on supportive care as the body reabsorbs the blood. The healing process is similar to that of a bad bruise, taking time to heal completely.
Surgery. If there is a large region of bleeding in the brain, the doctor may perform surgery to remove any excess blood to relieve intercranial pressure. Surgery may also be needed in order to repair blood vessels in the brain. The doctor may recommend one of the following procedures after a stroke if an aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or other vascular malformation was the cause:
- Surgical Clipping
A surgeon may place a tiny clamp at the base of the aneurysm to halt blood flow, keep the aneurysm from bursting, or prevent the aneurysm from rebleeding.
- Endovascular Embolization
A surgeon may insert a catheter into an artery in the patient’s groin and use X-ray images to guide it to the area of bleeding in the brain. Tiny removable coils are then placed in the aneurysm, called aneurysm coiling. These coils seal the aneurysm, blocking blood flow and causing the blood inside to clot.
- Surgical AVM Removal
A surgeon may decide to remove an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) if it is small enough and located in an easily reachable part of the brain. This procedure eliminates the risk of rupture and lowers the risk of another hemorrhagic stroke. It is not always possible to remove an AVM if it is too big, located too deeply within the brain, or could cause too much impact on brain function.
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery
A surgeon may use numerous beams of intensely focused radiation in an advanced, minimally-invasive technique for repairing vascular malformations.
If you or someone you love has suffered from a stroke, specialized in-home care services may be required. The caring staff at Specialty Care Services can help families cope with the aftermath of hemorrhagic stroke. Contact us 24/7 for more information.