Over the past few years there have been enormous changes in the management of stroke patients. General practitioners, ambulance personnel/paramedics and the general public need to be well informed that stroke is a medical emergency. Prevention of secondary brain damage by normalising vital parameters and combating fever should already start at the scene or in the ambulance. Early recognition of stroke symptoms, immediate transfer to a suitable treatment facility, and rapid in hospital triage protocols should bring thrombolysis to a larger number of stroke victims. Admission to a unit that is dedicated to the care of stroke patients helps to reduce mortality and morbidity.