Alteplase (rt-PA) in Acute Ischemic Stroke
You (or your whanau-relative) are being considered for treatment with Alteplase, a recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA). In order to decide whether you wish to receive therapy, you should understand enough about the possible risks and benefits to make an informed decision. You will have about 15 minutes to consider this. An interpreter will be provided if at all possible within the time constraints of treatment.
Most stokes are caused by loss of blood supply to a part of the brain. This is usually due to a clot in a blood vessel supplying the affected part of the brain. Dissolving the clot with Alteplase can restore the blood flow to the affected brain and may reduce the amount of permanent brain damage. Alteplase is only given after your consent and following discussion of the potential benefits and risks of treatment. Alteplase is given by injection into a vein over 1 hour.
What are the possible benefits of receiving Alteplase?
Alteplase has been shown to reduce the risk of disability in stroke patients treated up to 4.5 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms. The earlier Alteplase treatment can be given, the greater the chance of improved outcome. This is the reason for the short time in which to make a decision. This time-dependent effect of treatment can be demonstrated with the ‘number’s needed to treat’ to see significant benefit. One patient treated with Alteplase has a significantly improved outcome for every:
These figures take into account the increased risk of bleeding with Alteplase.
What are the possible risks from receiving Alteplase?
Treatment with Alteplase significantly reduces the risk of death or disability following stroke. There is an increased risk of bleeding into the brain but this risk is outweighed by the benefits of treatment.
Alteplase is generally well tolerated but you (or your whanau-relative) may experience one or more of the following side effects.
You can ask for any information you want
The decision whether or not you wish to receive Alteplase is your choice. If you choose not to receive this treatment you do not have to give a reason and you will continue to receive all standard care for stroke patients. If you would like more information about Alteplase or if there is any matter about it that concerns you, either now or in the future, do not hesitate to ask one of the clinical team treating you.
Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.