Skip Navigation Links

Stroke Reperfusion Therapy: IV t-PA Treatment Phase

IV tPA Administration for Adult Patients Arriving Within 3 Hours.

Comments in brackets denote activities specific to MGH, or additional commentary regarding national standards or guidelines. For example:

Activate the Stroke Team

[MGH Beeper 34282]

Prior to making any medical decisions, please view our disclaimer.

Consent Form

Indications for IV tPA

  • Age greater than or equal to 18 yrs
  • A significant neurologic deficit expected to result in long term disability
  • Non-contrast CT scan showing no hemorrhage or well-established new infarct
  • Acute ischemic stroke symptoms with onset or last known well, clearly defined, less than 3 hours before t-PA will be given

Contraindications

These are based on FDA approved labeling of alteplase.

Contraindications include any of the following:

  • SBP greater than 185 or DBP greater than 110 mmHg (see BP Management)
    [despite medical intervention to lower it]
  • Seizure at onset
    [if residual deficits are due to the postictal state rather than to ischemia. If rapid diagnosis of vascular occlusion can be made, treatment may be given.]
  • Recent surgery/trauma (less than 15 days)
  • Recent intracranial or spinal surgery, head trauma, or stroke (less than 3 months)
  • History of intracranial hemorrhage or brain aneurysm or vascular malformation or brain tumor
    [may consider iv tPA in patients with CNS lesions that have a very low likelihood of bleeding such as small unruptured aneurysms or benign tumors with low vascularity]
  • Active internal bleeding (less than 22 days)
    [including arterial puncture at a non-compressible site]
  • Platelets less than 100,000, PTT greater than 40 sec after heparin use, or PT greater than 15 or INR greater than 1.7, or known bleeding diathesis
    [see protocol for starting tPA while awaiting results of PT/PTT]
  • Suspicion of subarachnoid hemorrhage
    [by imaging or clinical presentation]
  • CT findings (ICH, SAH, or major acute infarct signs)
    [e.g. hypodensity greater than 1/3 cerebral hemisphere]

Warnings

These conditions may increase the risk of unfavorable outcomes but are not necessarily a contraindication to treatment:

  • Stroke severity - too severe (e.g., NIHSS greater than 22)
    [At MGH, we typically do not exclude patients based on an increased NIHSS alone.]
  • Glucose less than 50 or greater than 400 mg/dl
    [if residual deficits are due to the altered metabolic state rather than to ischemia. If rapid diagnosis of vascular occlusion can be made, treatment may be given.]
  • Left heart thrombus documented
  • Increased risk of bleeding due to any of the following:
    • Acute pericarditis
    • Subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE)
    • Hemostatic defects including those secondary to severe hepatic or renal disease
    • Pregnancy
    • Diabetic hemorrhagic retinopathy, or other hemorrhagic ophthalmic conditions
    • Septic thrombophlebitis or occluded AV cannula at seriously infected site
    • Patients currently receiving oral anticoagulants, e.g., Warfarin sodium
      [and INR greater than 1.7]
    • Advanced age
  • Rapid improvement
  • Stroke severity too mild
    [e.g. anticipate ability to discharge to home]
  • Life expectancy less than 1 year or severe co-morbid illness or CMO on admission

t-PA Dosing

Calculate the exact dose of t-PA using the t-PA Dosing Calculator if patient's weight is known or measured. If estimating weight to 10 lb intervals, the Dosing Sheet below may be used.

Estimated Weight (lbs) Conversion to Kilograms (Kg) Total iv t-PA Dose (mg) at 0.9 mg/kg t-PA Bolus (mg) *10% of total* t-PA Bolus (ml) Discard Dose t-PA (Not for infusion) Infusion Dose (mg) Infusion Rate (ml/hr)
220+ 100.0 90.0 9.0 9.0 10.0 81.0 81.0
210 95.5 85.9 8.6 8.6 14.1 77.3 77.3
200 90.9 81.8 8.2 8.2 18.2 73.6 73.6
190 86.4 77.7 7.8 7.8 22.3 70.0 70.0
180 81.8 73.6 7.4 7.4 26.4 66.3 66.3
170 77.3 69.5 7.0 7.0 30.5 62.6 62.6
160 72.7 65.5 6.5 6.5 34.5 58.9 58.9
150 68.2 61.4 6.1 6.1 38.6 55.2 55.2
140 63.6 57.3 5.7 5.7 42.7 51.5 51.5
130 59.1 53.2 5.3 5.3 46.8 47.9 47.9
120 54.5 49.1 4.9 4.9 50.9 44.2 44.2
110 50.0 45.0 4.5 4.5 55.0 40.5 40.5
100 45.5 40.9 4.1 4.1 59.1 36.8 36.8

Treatment Phase

ED Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Mix and draw up tPA per protocol:
    • Provide physician with the 10% bolus dose, either in CT area or ED bay
    • Prepare the infusion
    • If tPA is mixed but patient does not receive drug, initiate rebate and restocking procedures
  • Once infusion begins monitor vital signs as follows:
    • Every 15 min for 2 hours, then:
    • Every 30 minutes for 6 hours, then:
    • Every 60 minutes for 16 hours
  • Notify physician immediately if SBP/DBP greater than 175/100
  • Do not insert Foley catheter or nasogastric tube unless ordered
  • Document hourly neurologic reassessment (more frequently if changes occur)

Neurologist Responsibilities (includes Resident, Fellow or Attending):

  • Calculate IV tPA dose based on weight estimate and tPA dosing table:
    • Document estimated weight
    • Review with nursing staff to ensure accuracy
    • Confirm BP within safe limits
    • Write order for tPA total dose as a bolus plus infusion
    • Administer the 10% bolus over 1 minute and document time on ED medication order sheet
  • Repeat NIHSS evaluation if patient exam has changed significantly
  • Strict control of blood pressure for 24 hours per protocol
  • Request an Acute Stroke admission bed to the CMF/ICU Service. The patient remains under the care of the Acute Stroke Team until officially transferred to the CMF/ICU Attending.
  • Coordinate the post tPA care with the ED attending to ensure continuity until the patient can be transferred out of the ED
  • Management of blood pressure (see BP Management)

Post Treatment Phase

ED Nurse Responsibilities

  • Document neurologic assessment hourly or more frequently if changes occur
  • Vital sign monitoring as described above under Treatment Phase
  • Verify the patency of IV and completion of the tPA dose
  • Provide nursing report to the accepting nurse
  • Provide family/patient with appropriate resource materials about stroke

Neurologist Responsibilities (includes Resident, Fellow or Attending)

  • ICU/Acute Stroke Unit admission for monitoring during first 24 hours
  • Modify the standard POE order set for stroke post tPA as indicated
  • Order routine non-contrast head CT at 24 hours post treatment (or STAT with any worsening in neurological status)
  • Vital signs every 15 minutes for 2 hours, then every 30 minutes for 6 hours, then every 1 hour for 16 hours
  • Strict control of blood pressure for 24 hours per protocol
  • Restrict patient intake to strict NPO including meds until swallowing screen performed and passed
  • Continuous pulse oximetry monitoring, order oxygen by nasal cannula or mask to maintain O2 sat greater than 95%
  • Tylenol 650 mg po/pr every 4 hours prn T greater than 99.4; consider cooling for T greater than 102
  • No antiplatelet agents or anticoagulants (including heparins for DVT prophylaxis) in first 24 hours
  • No Foley catheter, nasogastric tube, arterial catheter or central venous catheter for 24 hr, unless absolutely necessary
  • For any acute worsening of neurologic condition:
    • For suspected symptomatic hemorrhage after t-PA or other plasminogen activator has been given:
      • Hold administration of IV tPA if still infusing until Brain CT completed and shows no evidence of bleeding.
      • Exclude other possible causes of neurologic worsening or acute hemodynamic instability.
    • For confirmed symptomatic hemorrhage on Head CT
      • Consult Neurosurgery for possible intervention.
      • Check STAT labs: CBC, PT, PTT, platelets, fibrinogen and D-dimer.
      • If hypofibrinogenemia present, treat with anitfibrinolytic or cryopreciptate (or both) as follows:
        • Confirmed symptomatic hemorrhage on Head CT: Consult Neurosurgery for possible intervention.
          • Give anti-fibrinolytic: eg, amicar 5gm bolus i.v. over 15-30 min
          • Check STAT labs: CBC, PT, PTT, platelets, fibrinogen and D-dimer.
          • If fibrinogen less than 100 mg/dL, then give Cryoprecipitate 0.15 units/kg rounded to the nearest integer. If still bleeding at 1 hr and fibrinogen level still less than 100 mg/dL, repeat cryoprecipitate dose.
          • Institute frequent neurochecks and therapy of acutely elevated ICP, as needed.
      • Institute frequent neurochecks and therapy of acutely elevated ICP, as needed.
      • Additional Options or considerations
        • If platelet dysfunction suspected, give platelets 4 units.
        • If heparin has been administered in the past 3 hours:
          • Discontinue the heparin infusion and order Protamine sulfate. Calculate total amount of heparin received over the preceding 3 hours.
          • If initiated within 30 minutes of last heparin dose: Give 1mg protamine per 100U heparin.
          • If initiated within 30-60 minutes: Give 0.5-0.75 mg protamine per 100U heparin.
          • If initiated within 60-120 minutes: Give 0.375-0.5mg protamine per 100U heparin.
          • If heparin stopped greater than 120 minutes ago: Give 0.25-0.375 mg protamine per 100U heparin.
          • Give by slow IV injection, not to exceed 5mg/min, with total dose not to exceed 50mg.
          • Monitor for signs of anaphylaxis; the risk is higher in diabetics who have received insulin.
          • Follow-up with STAT PTT q1 hour for the next 4 hours, then q4 hours through 12 hours of hospitalization.
        • For uncontrolled, life-threatening bleeding, consider  aminocaproic acid (Amicar) 10 g IV in 250 cc NS IV over 1 hr as a last resort . Note there is a significant risk of pathologic thrombosis with Amicar.
        • Serious systemic hemorrhage should be treated in a similar manner. Manually compress and compressible sites of bleeding, and consult appropriate additional services to consider mechanically occluding arterial or venous sources of medically uncontrollable bleeding.
  • Coordinate care with accepting CMF team resident

tPA patient info sheet

View sheet (PDF)

References

  1. Adams HP Jr, del Zoppo G, Alberts MJ, Bhatt DL, Brass L, Furlan A, Grubb RL, Higashida RT, Jauch EC, Kidwell C, Lyden PD, Morgenstern LB, Qureshi AI, Rosenwasser RH, Scott PA, Wijdicks EF; American Heart Association; American Stroke Association Stroke Council; Clinical Cardiology Council; Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention Council; Atherosclerotic Peripheral Vascular Disease and Quality of Care Outcomes in Research Interdisciplinary Working Groups. Guidelines for the early management of adults with ischemic stroke: a guideline from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Stroke Council, Clinical Cardiology Council, Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention Council, and the Atherosclerotic Peripheral Vascular Disease and Quality of Care Outcomes in Research Interdisciplinary Working Groups: the American Academy of Neurology affirms the value of this guideline as an educational tool for neurologists.Stroke. 2007 May;38(5):1655-711. Epub 2007 Apr 12. Erratum in: Stroke. 2007 Jun;38(6):e38. Stroke. 2007 Sep;38(9):e96. PMID: 17431204 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Guidelines for the early management of adults with ischemic stroke: a guideline from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Stroke Council, Clinical Cardiology Council, Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention Council, and the Atherosclerotic Peripheral Vascular Disease and Quality of Care Outcomes in Research Interdisciplinary Working Groups: the American Academy of Neurology affirms the value of this guideline as an educational tool for neurologists. Stroke. 2007 May;38(5):1655-711. Epub 2007 Apr 12. Erratum in: Stroke. 2007 Jun;38(6):e38. Stroke. 2007 Sep;38(9):e96. PMID: 17431204 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  2. Albers GW, Amarenco P, Easton JD, Sacco RL, Teal P. Antithrombotic and thrombolytic therapy for ischemic stroke: the Seventh ACCP Conference on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy. Chest. 2004 Sep;126(3 Suppl):483S-512S.
  3. American Heart Association. Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2000, 102 (suppl I): I-1–I-384.

Authoring Information

Reviewed/Approved by: Schwamm, Lee, M.D. on behalf of ASQT

Last updated: 12/23/2009

Thank you for e-mailing this page.

Your Name 
Your E-mail 
Friend's Name 
Friend's E-mail 
Message

Thank you for your providing feedback. Your comments will be responded to within an appropriate time frame.

Your Name 
Email 
Organization
Subject 
Message

Text Size: A A A

Bookmarking Tools

Save & Share this webpage

Digg Reddit Google Yahoo del.icio.us

In the News

The MGH Neurology Department placed 4th in US News Neurology / NeuroSurgery rankings for 2014-15.

Educational Video

Still from the Stroke Evaluation simulation

This video simulation of an Emergency stroke evaluation illustrates the care of patients with acute stroke by the MGH Acute Stroke team.