Early recanalisation and an increase in collateral blood supply are predictors of favourable outcome in acute ischaemic stroke. Since individual responses to intravenous treatment with alteplase are heterogeneous, additional intra-arterial thrombolytic and mechanical endovascular treatment is increasingly given. Despite encouraging findings from single-centre studies, data from randomised clinical trials have not proven the hypothesis that interventional recanalisation leads to a better outcome. Advanced thrombectomy devices, the effect of ultrasound-enhanced thrombolysis, and imaging-guided selection of patients outside the currently approved time-window are all under investigation. Although neuroprotective agents have not shown benefit in clinical trials, non-pharmacological treatment strategies-such as decompressive surgery, therapeutic hypothermia, transcranial laser treatment, or augmentation of cerebral collateral perfusion by different means (eg, partial aortic occlusion or sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation)-are topics of current research. The future of acute stroke therapy relies on evidence for individually tailored, effective, safe, and rapidly accessible treatment probably consisting of combined pharmacological and improved non-pharmacological approaches.
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