Thrombolysis is the breakdown or “lysis” of blood clots, usually induced by using pharmacological agents.
Its actions occur by stimulating a component of the body’s inherent natural clot breakdown mechanism known as “fibrinolysis” normally caused by the enzyme plasmin. This process is implemented by infusing into the body, usually intravenously, drugs that mimic tissue plasminogen activator, the protein that normally and naturally activates plasmin. The most frequently studied and commonly used drug used to activate plasmin, thereby causing fibrinolysis and breaking down thrombi, is recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rTPA). This medication (commonly called a “clot buster”) is used during the acute phase to treat ischemic stroke but has been found to be effective only when administered within the first few hours following onset of stroke. It breaks the thrombus that occludes the vessel causing the stroke and thereby...
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