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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

TPA

Introduction

Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) is a thrombolytic agent (clot-busting drug). It's approved for use in certain patients having a heart attack or stroke. The drug can dissolve blood clots, which cause most heart attacks and strokes.

Studies have shown that TPA and other clot-dissolving agents can reduce the amount of damage to the heart muscle and save lives. However, to be effective, they must be given within a few hours after symptoms begin. Administering TPA or other clot-dissolving agents is complex and is done through an intravenous (IV) line in the arm by hospital personnel.