Treatment for acute stroke has the greatest chance of working well if it is given within the first 3 hours after symptoms start.

If you are admitted to hospital with a suspected acute stroke, you will have a CT scan as soon as possible to find out exactly what is happening in your brain. If an ischaemic stroke is confirmed, you will then be given a thrombolytic drug to break down the blood vessel blockage - a common one is Alteplase®.

You may also get a drug to make the blood less likely to clot. This ’thinning’ of the blood is achieved using an anti-coagulant such as aspirin, clopidogrel, warfarin, or heparin.

If you have had a haemorrhagic stroke, emergency treatment will be given to keep your blood pressure constant, to reduce pressure in the skull and to prevent seizures. If the blood vessel damage is severe, you may need surgery.

Once the emergency treatment is complete and your condition has stabilised, you will be admitted to a specialist acute stroke unit. Most of your recovery will take place there and you will get help with eating, and, importantly, stroke rehabilitation to restore your pre-stroke quality of life as much as possible.