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Taking Charge of Your Health


– [Voiceover] After you start to recognize that someone might be
having a stroke, right, maybe they have some of the symptoms we know to be common stroke symptoms, like maybe one side of
their face starts to droop. Or maybe all of a sudden
they have some vision loss or some numbness or weakness
on one side of their body. Then you want to make
sure that this person gets to the hospital
as quickly as possible because remember more than
any organ in the body, our brains love oxygen. Brain tissue cannot live without
it even for a few minutes, so in a stroke when blood stops flowing to a part of the brain and thus deprives the brain
of the oxygen it carries, the brain tissue that’s
missing out on oxygen starts to die off. So super important that
whoever you’re suspecting of having a stroke is
taken to the hospital as quick as possible to save
as much brain as possible. So now that we’re at the hospital, what goes on there, what’s gonna happen? A few things are gonna happen. I mean the plan is to
diagnose the stroke, right, with some tests and some imaging, and then to treat the stroke
with some medications. So let’s take a look. We know that part of diagnosis
includes a physical exam to look for any physical signs that the person has had a stroke. Really importantly, it
also includes imaging like CT and MRI scans. It includes lab tests,
blood work to look for an underlying cause of the stroke or to rule out other diagnoses like hypoglycemia, which
can look like a stroke. The kind of treatment that the person gets really depends on the type
of stroke that they had. Let me show you what I mean here. You could’ve had an ischemic
stroke, for example, where a clot blocks off a bit
of blood vessel in the brain and causes a stroke that way. Or you could’ve had a
hemorrhagic stroke, for example, where a weakened blood vessel
in the brain starts to leak, maybe because of a ruptured aneurysm or some trauma to the head, like from a fall or something
unpleasant like that. But how does the type of stroke you have influence treatment? Because for ischemic strokes, which you can usually identify on imaging, actually let me clarify that. You won’t be able to see
any brain changes on CT scan right after a patient’s
had an ischemic stroke. That’s why this CT up
here looks pretty normal. But the key is that it doesn’t look like a hemorrhagic stroke CT scan, which I’ll show you in a few minutes. So the patient in whom you’re
suspecting an ischemic stroke gets certain medications that you definitely do not get
in hemorrhagic stroke. Let me show you what I mean here. Let me bring up a blood vessel here to just show you how
these medications work. If the patient had an ischemic stroke and came to the hospital quickly enough, they’d often be given
two types of medication. One is aspirin, and aspirin
doesn’t actually do anything about the existing clot. It can’t break it up
or anything like that, but what it can do, what it can do is prevent new clots from forming. So it stops platelets in your
blood from working properly because platelets in your
blood are responsible for forming the initial
component of a blood clot. It stops those from forming. Really importantly, you might
be given a type of medication called a thrombolytic. This thrombolytic is the
one that can potentially break up that clot that’s
causing the stroke, right? You might have heard of
clot-busting medication and this would be type of that. Thrombo means clot and lytic
means to break something up. This one in particular is called tissue plasiminogen activator or TPA. That sounds like a pretty confusing name but it’s called tissue
plasminogen activator because of what it does. It activates a compound called plasminogen that’s already naturally found
floating around in your blood as part of the body’s natural mechanism to break up any clots that
shouldn’t be hanging around. So TPA sort of kick
starts this natural system already in your bloodstream
to try to bust up the clot that causes the stroke, right? Actually when plasminogen
gets activated by TPA, it turns into this compound called plasmin and that’s what’s actually
doing the busting up, the clot busting, that’s
why I wrote plasmin here. Really importantly about this drug, the benefit of TPA is the highest right after the stroke has occurred, and then it just kinda gets less and less effective from there. Again, I’m just trying
to highlight the fact that the earlier the patient
gets to the hospital, the better the outcome, the better the TPA will work. That’s ischemic strokes. That’s acute management
of an ischemic stroke. With hemorrhagic strokes
though it’s a different story because when you have vessels
that are bleeding out, the first thing you want is for it to clot off and stop bleeding, and therefore the last thing you want is to activate your plasminogen
clot-busting system. You won’t be given TPA because if you are given TPA, then your blood will be far
less likely to clot, right, as we saw earlier. Blood will just continue to pour out of this deficiency in the
blood vessel here, see? Actually let me bring up a CT scan of a hemorrhagic stroke. You remember I said I
was gonna bring one up. You can see all of this blood here. This bright spot is a
big collection of blood that’s been sort of leaking
out of blood vessels in the brain that have ruptured. You can see that this
looks really different from the CT scan over here on the left of an ischemic stroke. This is why brain scanning
is super important when you’re diagnosing a stroke ’cause it really has big implications on how you treat the stroke afterward. For hemorrhagic strokes the
focus of initial treatment has to be a little different
than with ischemic strokes. For example, with hemorrhagic strokes it’s really important to find out which blood vessel’s bleeding, so where exactly in
the brain the bleed is. That can be done by the
imaging tests like CT or MRI or angiography
that we talked about. Because the goal is to stop the bleed, it’s important to first know where it is. Another thing, anytime you’re bleeding from a vessel, right, losing blood, your heart starts to get
a little worried, right? Good ol’ heart always looking out for you. It starts to pump blood
out a little harder and it’s thinking that
that’s what it’ll take to get blood going everywhere again. Now your blood pressure’s gone up. But there’s two main drawbacks to that. One is that if a little clot
has started to form, right, to seal up the initial
tear in the blood vessel, is that new maybe not so stable clot gets hit with blood racing
along at high pressure, it might get dislodged and
rebleeding might happen. The second drawback to blood
pressure that gets too high is, let’s say that a clot hasn’t formed and it’s still bleeding,
it’s still active. Then now blood’ll just start coming out of the vessel even faster, right, and that’s probably the
last thing that we want. The patient might be
given antihypertensives or blood pressure lowering drugs to try to keep the blood
pressure from getting too high. It’s also really important
with hemorrhagic strokes that the healthcare team
stops or reverses the effects of any medication that the
patient’s regularly taking that might increase bleeding, such as warfarin or the aspirin
that we mentioned earlier. Also really important is
that pressure building up in the brain and the skull from all this blood is controlled. For starters one simple way to
do that is to just make sure that the head of the
patient’s bed is elevated. This works just because
of good ol’ gravity. When the patient’s head is elevated, then more blood will flow out of the head in the jugular veins, right? That’s one way of lowering
pressure in the head a bit. One reason why keeping
pressure in the head at a normal-ish level is
really important is that when your brain starts to
get pushed on or compressed, it kinda disrupts the
normal electrical activity in the brain and you could
end up having a seizure. So the doctors might consider
giving an anticonvulsant, which is a medication to
prevent seizures from happening. Another reason is just because some pretty vital areas in your brain, particularly your brain stem, they might get compressed with all of this pressure building up and that’s pretty quickly
fatal so we don’t want that. There are some other surgical ways to keep pressure under control but we won’t focus on that right now. But you can definitely start to see that management of hemorrhagic stroke is really about managing the patient until interventions
like surgery can happen. Whereas with ischemic strokes, while you might still need more invasive treatment down the line, at least you can give TPA initially to try to get things resolved beforehand, try to bust up that clot before you need more invasive treatment. So that’s a quick look at some of the immediate management of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes.

22 thoughts on “Acute treatment of stroke with medications | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

  1. Will hemorrhagic strokes usually require some type of surgical intervention to stop the bleed or do many clot on their own without any intervention?

  2. I had an ischemic stroke, got to the ED of the stroke hospital very quickly (ambulance) and tPA was administered all my scans came back clear. I am told that I am extremely lucky 🍀 Has this happened to anyone else?

  3. My father recently have had an ischemic stroke we didn't recognised it because the symptoms wasn't that obvious to us we took him to " hospital " after 4 day because of many medical complications of SINTROM (over dose) and increasing of white blood cells (due to microbe), they did nothing to him regarding the stroke even I told the medicin that my dad mental abilities are decreasing , no scan no phisical test we leaved hospital to home, after 6 days I took him back to that hospital to be seen by a neurologist and they did a scan (CT scan I think) the images said that the brain is normal but the medicin said he had a stroke, they gave him meds (Manettol as I remember), his health isn't that bad now but many of brain cells are damaged he had some strange behavior somtimes especialy when he is sleepy 🙁 the medicine in this third world country is so bad they don't give a fuck about other's lives, no humanity, no conscience. thats our story

  4. so I have a question If stroke is suspected what shall I do until the patient gets to the hospital,until the scanning is done and the type is differentiated shall I measure the BP and if it is too high I'd give sth fast acting like Captopril until I reach the hospital and not asprin ? as if it is a hemorrhagic and i give asprin it'll be worse right?

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  6. My dad just had a stroke…the presentors voice is so soothing and calm and informative..i dont know whether to feel better or freak out even more.

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