Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke. While the risk of stroke increases with age, it can happen to anyone at any age.


That’s why it’s important to act fast. Treatments for stroke are most effective when delivered quickly after a stroke, so call 911 for medical help the minute you suspect possible stroke symptoms.


With quick action, physicians at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital have the best chance of treating a stroke successfully and minimizing stroke-related disability. Here’s a closer look at the treatment options.


A clot-busting drug, called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), can be administered via IV or directly to blood vessels going to the brain. “Considered the gold standard for treatment of ischemic strokes (strokes caused by narrowed or blocked arteries to the brain, about 85% of strokes fall into this category), the medication works to dissolve clots that are blocking blood flow to the brain,” said Ruby Parveen, M.D., neurologist and medical director of the stroke program at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital.


Most patients will need to seek medical care within three hours of the onset of symptoms to be eligible for this treatment.


Mechanical thrombectomy is a minimally invasive surgery to remove a large clot blocking blood flow to the brain. Using a minimally invasive endovascular approach, a catheter can be advanced to the affected artery to retrieve the clot. This procedure can help certain patients in an “extended window” up to 24 hours after a major ischemic stroke.


“An international study called the DAWN trial found that select patients with large clots undergoing thrombectomy had significantly less post stroke disability and improved function compared with patients treated medically or with clot-busting drugs alone,” Parveen said.


Surgical clips or coils to stabilize weaknesses in blood vessel walls are treatment options for people experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke, which causes bleeding in the brain. “Occasionally, for carotid artery blockages, stents or surgery may help open up a blocked blood vessel and prevent a stroke from occurring in the first place,” Parveen said.


The “FAST” test from the National Stroke Association may help you determine if someone is having a stroke:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Does one arm drift downward when you ask the person to raise both arms?

Speech: Can he or she repeat a simple sentence correctly? Are the words slurred?

Time: If a person shows any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Carefully note the time when the first symptoms appeared. This information is critical for treatment decisions.


Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital has earned the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to and success in utilizing the “Get With the Guidelines-Stroke” and “Target: Stroke” program. These advanced, evidence-based treatment guidelines ensure stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.


To learn more about stroke care and rehabilitation at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital, visit houstonmethodist.org/baytown or call 832.556.6535.