Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA)

A tPA is a drug used to break up a blood clot and restore blood flow to the brain. A tPA can only be administered within a few hours after stroke symptoms appear, so it is extremely important to call 911 at the first sign of a stroke.

Our Capabilities

UC Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Center is a global leader in stroke research and treatment. Our specialists played a leading role in the development and testing of tPA, the first FDA-approved treatment for stroke caused by a blood clot.

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Patient care and research is at the core of what we do. The work of our world-renowned stroke team has earned us the honor of being Greater Cincinnati’s first comprehensive stroke center, certified by The Joint Commission. Our best-in-class experts are the forefront of leading-edge breakthroughs in stroke treatment and care. Our team is dedicated to providing highly specialized care after treatment, as well as coordinated subspecialty care during your recovery.

To schedule an appointment, please call the UC Health Comprehesive Stroke team at 866-941-8264.

Help Along the Way

Answers to Your tPA Questions

A tPA is a clot-busting drug that is given to stroke patients at a hospital under the direction of a stroke physician. It is a very powerful treatment that restores blood flow to the brain by breaking up a blood clot, making the patient better.

There are two types of strokes—a stroke caused by a blockage and a stroke caused by bleeding. Blockages occur when an artery is blocked and the brain starts to die because of a lack of oxygen. A bleeding-type stroke is when a blood vessel has broken open inside the brain.

A tPA would only be given to a patient with a blockage-type stroke because it would be very dangerous to give it to a patient that is already bleeding.  

In order to determine the type of stroke the patient is experiencing, a CT scan would be performed prior to treatment. 


A tPA is administered through an IV with treatment lasting about one hour. Patients are monitored closely throughout the process, and about 55% of patients who receive a tPA are more likely to go home following treatment.

A tPA can potentially cause bleeding issues, but your physician will assess those risks before treatment.

When someone is having a stroke, it is OK to talk to them in a calm voice, even if they are unconscious and cannot speak. 

Patients may also be restrained to avoid pulling out medical devices or hurting themselves.

Sometimes a stroke may affect the patient’s mood and behavior in unexpected ways such as crying, laughing or getting angry easily.


There are many programs available to those who are providing care to someone following a stroke, ranging from residential facilities to adult day care services, respite care and in-home respite care.

You can speak with your care team to learn more.

Why UC Health

Experience and Expertise

Authors of Breakthroughs

The Comprehensive Stroke Center’s history as a global research leader is founded in its pioneering studies of tPA for treatment of acute ischemic stroke in the 1980s and 1990s.

Clinical Trials

Our center is a member of the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT—a national network designed to expand new therapies and increase efficiency and access to new clinical trials.


In 2012, the American Heart Association adopted the FAST (Facial Droop, Arm Numbness, Slurred Speech and Time to Call 911) terminology, which was pioneered by the UC Health clinical team to assist those suffering from a stroke.

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Referring Physicians: Success and Provider Toolbox

We are committed to providing optimal care to your patient and open communication with you. We understand that as a referring physician, you need to be kept informed on your patient’s progress. That’s why we set up a toolbox to share detailed information about your patient’s health with you.

For referral information, call:

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At UC Health, we lead the region in scientific discoveries and embrace a spirit of purpose – offering our patients and their families something beyond everyday healthcare. At UC Health, we offer hope.

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