• Questions to ask your Doctor
  • Choose Quality Care

Ischemic Stroke

Ischemic Stroke is a designated Stroke Center emergency in which 911 should be called to trigger immediate care that allows for the stroke victim to receive a Clot Busting Shot that must be given within three hours of the stroke to reduce the risk of long term disability by up to one third, if they qualify.

What is an Ischemic Stroke?

An Ischemic Stroke occurs following clot formation or fat accumulation which blocks the blood vessels, resulting in parts of the brain becoming oxygen starved. This classification of a stroke is of two types: Cerebral Embolism and Arterial Thrombosis.

Treatment for Ischemic Stroke

As reinforced by Dr. Patrick Lyden, “People who have an Ischemic Stroke require prompt care to see if they qualify for a Clot Busting Injection that must be given within three hours of the stroke to reduce the risk of long term disability by up to one third.” Dr. Patrick Lyden is the Chair of the Department of Neurology, Director of the Stroke Program and holds the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.

Your Health Access Alert

At select hospitals, the Clot Busting Shot may be given within 4.5 hours of the stroke or may not be available at all. For this reason, it is prudent to select a designated Stroke Center Hospital for treatment, as directed by a 911 representative. You may also want to prepare in advance by knowing which hospital(s) in your area offer this treatment to optimize care for subsequent Stroke needs, if necessary.

The Overall Treatment Plan

The decision for treatment options often involves a multi-prong approach. This may include: thorough input from the attending Neurologist or Neurosurgeon, other Medical Specialists, a Vascular Surgeon, the Stroke Victim and possibly a Patient Representative, Power of Attorney and/or Lawyer.

Are You or Your Loved One a Candidate?

Following the above mentioned activities and based on candidacy for treatment, treatment plan options may include:

  • Medications, such as aspirin and clopidogrel reduce risk of blood clot formation.
  • Medicines for control of inappropriate blood pressure levels, diabetes, and to lower high cholesterol levels.
  • Medications and/or surgical treatment for other conditions, such as atherosclerosis treatment. Atherosclerosis often the cause of this type of stroke.

The Surgical Approaches

Select stroke victims may qualify for surgery to remove blood clots or fat clumps from the blocked blood vessel that has atherosclerosis. The goal in surgery is to help reduce to risk of another stroke, but there is a risk of stroke during or after surgery and other risks. Surgical techniques have been improved to offer a less invasive approach which may reduce risks. The level of expertise using advanced techniques may vary among surgeons. Thus, the benefits and risks must be weighed to make a well informed decision.

Ischemic Stroke Outcome

Recovery from a stroke is difficult to predict on the onset. The vast majority of recovery occurs within three months following a stroke, but improvements may occur in months to follow. The extent of the recovery depends, in part, on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Timeliness of appropriate treatment.
  • Degree of success in treatment.
  • Types and degree of disabilities.
  • Availability and extent of Rehabilitation Services.
  • Risk of additional stroke that may result in new disabilities.
  • Awareness among family members about the stroke victim’s unique needs and more.

The Stroke Victim’s Role In Outcome

The stroke victim’s ability to perform daily living skills may be compromised following a stroke. Disabilities and compensation skills may not be fully evident upon hospital discharge or through a daily living skill assessment.  Examples include:

  • Example-A diabetic stroke victim that appears to understand and demonstrate the ability to adhere to instructions for medication management, but forgets to take the medication once home due to a neurological disability from the stroke. When queried, he or she may indicate they have taken the medication and may recall the directions. This may be due to the neurological damage that was caused in a select area of the brain. Uncontrolled diabetes may contribute to subsequent strokes or TIAs. Learn more about Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease risk factors that may increase risk for cognitive decline.
  • Example- a stroke victim with “legal blindness” due to a neurological deficit that was not diagnosed following a stroke may be at risk for medication mismanagement, bumping into walls, tripping, falling down or be at risk for other potentially dangerous consequences. These risks may or may not be evident due to the nature of select neurological deficits, while select individuals may have the ability to compensation well in other ways.  Some people who have strokes may be advised to see a Neuro-Ophthalmologist to identify damage that may result in minimal to extremely significant vision loss. This refers to neurological damage that may not be recognized by family members, an optometrist or during a traditional eye chart exam in select individuals. Generally, stroke victims compensate better in their own environment.  Still, a vision check with an Ophthalmologist may be the first point of contact as the availability of Neuro-Ophthalmologists may be limited, depending upon your geographic area.


The ability for the stroke victim to obtain the Clot Busting Drug in a timely fashion, learn new skills, develop new ways to compensate and to cope may play a role in long term outcome. Select individuals recover and  compensate very well for their disabilities. Select individuals may benefit from extended rehabilitation that is not likely to be covered by insurance and may not be made available at the aftercare location. Individuals may elect to pay for additional services that may reduce degree of disability, enhance quality of life and may allow for greater independence. The long-term prognosis of the ischemic stroke may be better in younger people when compared to adults.

Overview for the Basics About What You May Expect

Approach Medical Providers with a Q and A

Assisted Living Options

Seniors: Risks and Solutions for Good and Bad Days

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition.Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.