Stroke Treatment Options

Rapid stroke assessment and treatment decisions when seconds count

Fast-acting stroke treatment

When it comes to a stroke, time matters. Rapid and advanced stroke treatment for you or your loved one is critical to save lives and prevent disability.

You’ll find emergency, medical and advanced surgical treatments, as well as breakthrough clinical trials, available to you from Henry Ford’s expert stroke team. Educational support, treatments to prevent a future stroke, and physical and occupational therapies are also provided.

Treatments for ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes

Emergency treatment for stroke depends on whether you're having an ischemic stroke blocking an artery (the most common) or a hemorrhagic stroke that involves bleeding into the brain.

  • Ischemic stroke treatments include:
    • Clot-busting drugs: Drugs such as aspirin or an injection of tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) may be given. TPA restores blood flow by dissolving the blood clot that is causing your stroke, and it may help people who have had strokes recover more fully.
    • Medications delivered directly to the brain: TPA can be delivered through an artery in your groin via a catheter which is threaded to your brain.
    • Minimally invasive mechanical clot removal: Our specialists use a clot-retrieval device to remove small blood clots in the brain, therefore unblocking a clogged vessel.
    • Carotid endarterectomy: A surgery to removes plaque from arteries.
    • Angioplasty and stents: During an angioplasty, your vascular surgeon inflates a small balloon inside a narrowed blood vessel. The balloon helps to widen your blood vessel and improve blood flow. Stents are tiny metal mesh tubes that support your artery walls to keep your vessels wide open.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke treatments include:
    • Drugs: Specific drugs are given to counteract any blood thinners you might be on, lower pressure in your brain, lower blood pressure or prevent seizures.
    • Surgical blood vessel repair: Surgical options for repairing blood vessel abnormalities include:
      • Surgical clipping: A surgeon places a tiny clamp at the base of the aneurysm to stop blood flow to it. This clamp can keep the aneurysm from bursting, or it can prevent re-bleeding of an aneurysm that has recently hemorrhaged.
      • Coiling: Tiny detachable coils are guided into the aneurysm to fill it, block blood flow, and cause the blood to clot. To hasten your healing process, we use the most state-of-the-art bioactive and hydrogel-coated coils.
      • Removal of arteriovenous malformation (AVM): AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins. Henry Ford has one of the leading brain aneurysm and arteriovenous malformation teams in the U.S.
      • Radiosurgery: This advanced and minimally invasive treatment uses multiple beams of highly focused radiation to repair malformations in the veins and blood vessels, and is primarily used to treat small and/or surgically inaccessible AVMs.
  • Stroke prevention treatments include:
    • Medications: Specific medications including blood thinners, cholesterol medication, and medications to manage blood pressure may be prescribed to appropriate patients.  Using medications as directed by a doctor or pharmacist is extremely important.  For more information, please see our Medication Safety website.
    • Stent placement (carotid and vertebral): A catheter is used to insert a stent into the artery. The stent opens up the artery and improves blood flow.
    • Carotid endarterectomy: A surgeon removes plaque buildup in the carotid artery through an incision in the neck to improve blood flow.

Stroke rehabilitation

Once you’ve had a stroke, all you want is to get back to you.

Stroke rehabilitation at Henry Ford starts as soon as your condition allows. While rehabilitation does not cure the effects of your stroke and cannot reverse brain damage, Henry Ford’s specially-trained stroke team will help you regain as much independence and quality of life as possible.

Your path to recovery is unique to you, and through collaboration with your care team, a range of comprehensive therapies and state-of-the-art facilities, a rehabilitation plan will be developed to meet all of your needs.

Your stroke rehabilitation may include:

  • Occupational Therapy: Through occupational therapy, we help you rebuild skills needed for performing everyday activities such as bathing and getting dressed.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is used to improve stamina, reduce pain, build coordination and balance, and help you improve or regain control of affected extremities.
  • Speech/Language Therapy: Our speech/language therapy will help you improve your ability to communicate and swallow.

Most of our rehabilitation services are outpatient – and are available at more than 20 facilities. Inpatient rehabilitation services are also available to you at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital and Henry Ford Macomb Hospital. We also offer various education and support groups to help you and your loved ones connect with others and receive the support you need.

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Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email

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