tPA is a powerful and effective clot-dissolving drug administered during a minimally invasive treatment to treat stroke. tPA is often administered in an emergency setting to minimize the serious, often life-threatening effects of a blocked blood vessel.
The interventional physician threads a catheter up to the site of the blockage in the brain, a procedure known as intra-arterial thrombolysis. The physician then delivers the powerful thrombolytic drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) – often called the "clot buster" for its ability to dissolve blockages in blood vessels and restore blood flow in the brain.
Deploying the drug at the site of the clot rather than through the blood stream allows for the most effective result, and it can be effective up to six hours after the onset of stroke symptoms (depending on the clot's location). In addition, the interventionist can monitor the treatment's effectiveness from within the blood vessel itself, allowing for more detailed information.