How is stroke treated?

The immediate and secondary management of a cerebro-injured patient depends on the type of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) previously identified by MRI. In 80% of cases, a stroke is caused by a blocked artery in the brain, known as a cerebral infarction. In 20% of cases, stroke is caused by the rupture of a vessel in the brain, known as cerebral haemorrhage.
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How is a stroke treated?

The primary aim of emergency treatment is to minimise irreversible damage to the brain, by restoring blood flow in the case of an ischaemic stroke or reducing blood effusion in the case of a haemorrhagic stroke.

In the case of ischaemic stroke, thrombolytics are injected to dissolve the clots, while thrombectomy is performed endoscopically to reopen the blocked artery. Thrombectomy involves removing the blood clot blocking the artery by means of a catheter inserted into the patient’s femoral artery, which is then passed upwards to the arteries in the brain.


What happens after a stroke?

In the days following the stroke, the most important thing is to prevent recurrences, the frequency of which is highest in the 7 days following the attack before decreasing.

In the weeks that follow, complex, multi-disciplinary treatment is put in place, ranging from physiotherapy methods to more elaborate techniques aimed at encouraging cerebral plasticity, i.e. the brain’s capacity to use uninjured neural networks to carry out a task. Rehabilitation teams usually include doctors, physiotherapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists.

Researchers at the Paris Brain Institute are trying to understand the neurological process of cerebral plasticity that occurs in the brain in response to a stroke, and are working in particular on post-stroke recovery by determining the criteria for optimal rehabilitation. This is made possible by therapies such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which uses devices that can be transferred to the home, such as an interactive robot or therapeutic games. These approaches improve patients’ daily lives and reduce their after-effects.