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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Thrombolytics for Heart Attack and Stroke
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.
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.
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.
Powers WJ, et al. (2018). 2018 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, 49(3): e46–e99. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000158. Accessed July 3, 2018. [Correction in Stroke, published online April 18, 2018. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000172. Accessed July 3, 2018.]
Current as ofApril 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of:
April 9, 2019
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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