Intra-arterial thrombolysis (TPA)

If you have an ischemic stroke (stroke caused by a blood clot in your brain), doctors can sometimes perform an emergency treatment called intra-arterial thrombolysis. This treatment delivers a substance called tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) directly to the area around the clot. The t-PA can sometimes dissolve the clot and prevent further brain damage.

For intra-arterial thrombolysis with t-PA, a doctor threads a catheter (thin, hollow tube) through an artery in your groin up to your brain. Once the catheter is in place, t-PA is released directly into the area. Doctors use imaging scans to see if the clot is dissolving. To be effective, this treatment must be started within a few hours of a stroke.