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Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA)

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For some patients suffering from a heart attack or ischemic stroke (stroke caused by a blood clot), tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can be used to dissolve the blood clot and treat the stroke. This breakthrough treatment may be dangerous for some patients, so it’s important to speak with a medical professional about your risks. The team at Florida Hospital has years of experience providing care for stroke patients. You can trust our team to work quickly and efficiently in this critical time. Learn more about tPA treatment by contacting our team. If this is an emergency, call 9-1-1.

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Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the most commonly used drug for thrombolytic therapy. When a patient experiences a stroke or heart attack caused by a blood clot, thromboytic therapy is used to break up/dissolve the clot.

Blood clots are the main cause of heart attacks and strokes, so tPA works by dissolving major clots before tissue dies from lack of oxygen. Tissue plasminogen activator is administered intravenously (IV) to patients at the hospital—ideally within three to 4.5 hours after a stroke has occurred.

While tPA provides life-saving treatment, it isn’t safe for every patient. Patients with these medical conditions and treatments should not receive tPA treatment:

  • Head injury
  • A history of bleeding problems
  • Bleeding ulcers
  • Pregnancy
  • Recent surgery
  • Taking blood thinning medications
  • Recent trauma
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure

Tissue plasminogen activator could be deadly if administered with these conditions. A CT scan is done before the treatment to ensure there is no bleeding in the head and your medical history and physical exam will indicate other risks.