Every patient with acute stroke who presents to a medical center that has appropriate resources should undergo evaluation for intravenous tPA therapy. Such therapy should not be given unless the patient meets strict eligibility criteria based on clinical, radiographic, and laboratory data. Intra-arterial thrombolysis may be a promising alternative to intravenous tPA therapy, but it should still be regarded as experimental. Daily aspirin therapy should be initiated immediately in most patients who do not receive intravenous tPA therapy and after 24 hours in most patients who receive this treatment. Measures should be taken to prevent medical complications, such as aspiration pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis, contractures, and pressure sores. Early initiation of rehabilitation can maximize stroke recovery. Whenever feasible, institutions should have stroke teams or units to streamline care and provide expertise for patients with acute stroke.
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