Stroke, a disorder encompassing all cerebrovascular accidents, is a public health problem of immense proportions across the globe. Therapeutic efforts are directed at three aspects: prevention, acute treatment, and rehabilitation. Preventative measures, which in many instances mirror those for cardiovascular disease, can achieve the greatest public health impact. Measures that enhance the recovery of neurologic function and reduce neurologic disability after stroke can also affect a large population of handicapped stroke survivors. In the past 10 years, the greatest changes have occurred in the field of acute stroke treatment. Ultra-early-stage therapies with the potential to dramatically reverse severe neurologic deficits, or halt their progression, have caused a restructuring of the emergency care of neurologic patients. The parallels with the evolution of emergency treatment of acute coronary syndromes after 1970 are striking. This review focuses on aspects of stroke therapy that are either just entering, or soon to enter, current practice.