What is TPA?
TPA stands for Tissue Plasminogen Activator which works by dissolving the clot from an Ischaemic stroke and improving blood flow to the part of the brain that has been deprived of blood flow.
TPA must be given within 3 hours from when the stroke occurred so immediate diagnosis of the stroke using is critical. It is important to get the patient to hospital as soon as they experience any signs or symptoms of a stroke so that tests such as CT or MRI can be conducted to establish if it is an Ischaemic stroke and to see if the patient is suitable for TPA treatment. TPA treatment is not suitable treatment for Haemorrhagic strokes.
To be suitable for TPA the patient must be :
- Age 18 years or older
- Clinical diagnosis of ischaemic stroke with a measurable neurological deficit
- Time of onset (when patient was last seen as normal) must be less than 3 hours before treatment would begin
There are many other aspects that the treating medical team must consider and various factors which will influence if TPA can be given. Some of these include if the patient has other particular medical conditions.
All suspected stroke symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency and emergency services should be called immediately- Australia 000 and USA 911