Thrombolytics for Heart Attack and Stroke

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Topic Overview

Thrombolytics are medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot. They are used when a blood clot causes an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. These clot-busting medicines help blood to flow normally again.

Thrombolytics are used as soon as possible after a heart attack or stroke. These medicines are used in the hospital. They are typically given through a vein in the hand or arm. One example of this medicine is tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).

These medicines can greatly increase the risk of bleeding, so they are used only in very specific situations where the risk of bleeding can be balanced against the risks of not dissolving the blood clot rapidly.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Amsterdam EA, et al. (2014). 2014 AHA/ACC Guideline for the management of patients with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndromes. Circulation, 130(25): e344–e426. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000134. Accessed October 24, 2014.
  • Jauch EC, et al. (2013) Guidelines for the early management of patients with acute ischemic stroke. A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 44(3): 870–947. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0b013e318284056a. Accessed April 2, 2016.
  • O'Gara PT, et al. (2013). 2013 ACCF/AHA guideline for the management of ST-elevation myocardial infarction: Executive summary. A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 127(4): e362–e425.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology

Current as ofJune 4, 2016