Current perspectives on the use of intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for treatment of acute ischemic stroke

Sherita N. Chapman, Prachi Mehndiratta, Michelle C. Johansen, Timothy L. McMurry, Karen C. Johnston, Andrew M. Southerland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


In 1995, the NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) Stroke Study Group published the results of a large multicenter clinical trial demonstrating efficacy of intravenous tPA by revealing a 30% relative risk reduction (absolute risk reduction 11%-15%) compared with placebo at 90 days in the likelihood of having minimal or no disability. Since approval in 1996, tPA remains the only drug treatment for acute ischemic stroke approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Over the years, an abundance of research and clinical data has supported the safe and efficacious use of intravenous tPA in all eligible patients. Despite such supporting data, it remains substantially underutilized. Challenges to the utilization of tPA include narrow eligibility and treatment windows, risk of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage, perceived lack of efficacy in certain high-risk subgroups, and a limited pool of neurological and stroke expertise in the community. With recent US census data suggesting annual stroke incidence will more than double by 2050, better education and consensus among both the medical and lay public are necessary to optimize the use of tPA for all eligible stroke patients. Ongoing and future research should continue to improve upon the efficacy of tPA through more rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment, refinement of advanced neuroimaging and stroke biomarkers, and successful demonstration of alternative means of reperfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-87
Number of pages13
JournalVascular health and risk management
StatePublished - Feb 24 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • IV tPA
  • Rt-PA
  • RtPA
  • T-PA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hematology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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