Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), also called alteplase, is a medication made of a protein that can dissolve blood clots. This so-called “clot-buster” is a life-saving treatment for stroke and heart attack.
If you are at risk of a stroke or heart attack because of a blood clot, tPA in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, might be a great option for you. Find a neurologist or neurosurgeon associated with Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals or call (702) 616-4900 to learn more.
When is tPA Used
Your blood provides oxygen and nutrients to your body’s organs and tissues. If a blood clot forms in an artery, it blocks blood flow through that artery and starves tissues of freshly oxygenated blood. If a blood clot forms or becomes stuck in one of the arteries supplying the heart muscle with blood, it can cause a heart attack. If the clot occurs in an artery supplying the brain, it can cause a stroke. Dissolving the clot with tPA restores blood flow.
tPA is the most common treatment for ischemic stroke caused by a clot. The medication cannot be used if a stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). A brain scan will determine what type of stroke occurred and, if there is a clot, where it is located. If you had a heart attack, imaging tests and an electrocardiogram (ECG) will help the emergency room doctor or cardiologist determine if a blood clot caused it.
In general, tPA must be given within three hours of the first sign of heart attack or ischemic stroke.
Your tPA Experience
The ER care team monitors you closely while you are waiting for tPA. They will evaluate you for changes in signs and symptoms of stroke. Monitoring includes checking:
- If you respond to questions appropriately
- How well you move your legs
- If your pupils react to a light in your eyes
- Strength of your grip with both hands
You will have an intravenous (IV) line inserted into a vein in your hand or arm so you can receive fluids and medication, including the tPA. ER staff will monitor you closely while you are receiving the medication, and afterwards, to make sure you are comfortable and responding well to the medicine.
tPA Recovery at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
A short stay at the hospital is necessary after receiving tPA. You will likely have a follow-up imaging test to ensure the clot has dissolved. Most people who have tPA will need to take an anticoagulant (blood thinner) to prevent more blood clots from forming. You will have to have regular blood tests while taking anticoagulant medication to check how well you are responding to treatment. Ongoing care may include cardiac or stroke rehabilitation.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, as a part of our neurosurgical treatment and procedures.