- A Visual Guide to Heart Disease
- Medical Illustrations of the Heart Image Collection
- Take the Heart Disease Quiz!
- What is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- What are the uses for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- What are the side effects of alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- What is the dosage for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
What is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
Alteplase is an injectable drug, given directly into a vein, that is used to treat conditions caused by arterial blood clots including heart attacks, strokes, chest pain at rest (unstable angina), blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary thrombosis or embolus), and other less common conditions involving blood clots.
What brand names are available for alteplase?
TPA, Activase, and Cathflo Activase are brand names available for alteplase.
Is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
What are the uses for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Alteplase is used to treat persons with heart attacks (acute myocardial infarctions), strokes, chest pain at rest (unstable angina), blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary thrombosis or embolism), and other less common conditions involving blood clots.
- It also is used for clearing blood clots from blocked venous catheters.
What are the side effects of alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
The most common and serious side effect of alteplase is bleeding. Minor bleeding is more common, but significant bleeding such as into the brain (intracranial hemorrhage) or fatal bleeding also occurs.
Other important side effects include:
Other possible serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Clogged catheter: Alteplase is injected intravenously or directly into a clogged catheter.
- Heart attack: For heart attacks the recommended dose is a 15 mg injection followed by 50 mg or 0.75 mg/kg (up to 50 mg) infused over 30 minutes then 35 mg or 0.5 mg/kg (up to 35 mg) over 60 minutes. The total dose is 100 mg. It also can be infused over 3 hours.
- Pulmonary embolism: The dose for treating pulmonary embolism is 100 mg infused over 2 hours.
- Stroke: The dose for treating acute ischemic stroke is 0.9 mg/kg infused over one hour not to exceed 90 mg. Clogged catheters are cleared by injecting 2 mg/2 ml solution into the clogged catheter.
Which drugs or supplements interact with alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
Alteplase breaks down clots and thereby interferes with the body's ability to stop bleeding. Therefore, drugs which also interfere with the body's ability to form blood clots (or the clot-promoting effects of platelets) increase the risk of bleeding in patients receiving alteplase. Such drugs include
Is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
What else should I know about alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
What preparations of alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) are available?
Powder is mixed with sterile water for injection: 2, 50, and 100 mg vials.
How should I keep alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) stored?
- The vials are stored at room temperature up to 80 F (30 C) or under refrigeration at 2-8 C (36-46 F).
- Once mixed with sterile water, it must be used immediately.
- Any drug not used must be thrown away.
How does alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) work?
- Alteplase is an enzyme that occurs naturally in man and causes blood clots to dissolve. It is a man-made protein manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. The naturally occurring protein, known as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), is made by ovarian cells from the Chinese hamster. The amount that is given to patients is far greater than the amount naturally made by the body itself.
When was alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) approved by the FDA?
- Alteplase was first approved for heart attacks in 1987. In 1996, it was approved for strokes.
IMAGESBrowse through our medical image collection to see illustrations of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Alteplase (Activase; Cathflo Activase; TPA) is a drug prescribed to treat conditions caused by arterial blood clots such as heart attacks, strokes, chest pain from unstable angina, and pulmonary embolism. Review side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information prior to taking this medication.
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Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract, and uterus. Risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms and treatment depend on the location of the clot.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
14 Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke FAST
Stroke is a serious medical condition. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke call 911 immediately. There are two main types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic (the most common type). A hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to a blood vessel rupture in the brain. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the brain, which causes a loss of blood supply to the brain, possibly causing brain tissue death. FAST is an acronym that helps people identify stroke signs and symptoms so they can act fast and call 911. Face drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulty are indicators that a person may be having a stroke and it is Time to seek emergency medical treatment. Additional signs and symptoms of stroke may include weakness, difficulty walking, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, confusion, difficulty speaking, and loss of sensation. Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. Early identification and treatment of stroke helps reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality.
How the Heart Works
The heart is a very important organ in the body. It is responsible for continuously pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. It is a fist-sized muscle that beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping a total of five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
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Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung)
A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a piece of a blood clot from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) breaks off and travels to an artery in the lung where it blocks the artery and damages the lung. The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are shortness of breath, chest pain, and a rapid heart rate. Causes of pulmonary embolism include prolonged immobilization, certain medications, smoking, cancer, pregnancy, and surgery. Pulmonary embolism can cause death if not treated promptly.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
A heart attack occurs when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. Learn about warning signs, causes, complications, risk factors, and treatment.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins, and can be caused by broken bones, trauma to a limb, immobility, medications, smoking, cancer, genetic predisposition, and cancer. Symptoms and signs of a deep vein thrombosis in a leg are swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, and pain. Treatments for DVT include medications and surgery.
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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)
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Angina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that help decrease one's cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Omega-3s are found in salmon, sardines, walnuts, and canola oil. These fats may help reduce the risk of ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death.
Heart Attack Treatment
A heart attack involves damage or death of part of the heart muscle due to a blood clot. The aim of heart attack treatment is to prevent or stop this damage to the heart muscle. Heart attack treatments included medications, procedures, and surgeries to protect the heart muscle against injury.
Migraine and Stroke
Migraine headache is a type of headache in which the exact cause is not known; however, they may be inherited, and certain foods and environmental factors can trigger and may contribute them. A stroke (brain attack) happens when a blood vessel in the brain leaks, bursts, or becomes blocked, which can be caused by many other health problems. Both migraines and strokes can can cause severe head pain (migraine pain usually is only on one side of the head). Migraine aura symptoms may mimic or feel like a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, TIA) because they have similar symptoms and signs like severe headache, numbness in the legs, feet, arms, hands, or face, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Other migraine aura symptoms include vision problems like flashing lights or blind spots in one eye. The main difference between migraine headache and stroke symptoms and signs is that a migraine headaches usually come on gradually while a stroke symptoms come on suddenly and unexpectedly.
Stress and Heart Disease
Stress itself may be a risk factor for heart disease, or high levels of stress may make risk factors for heart disease worse. The warning signs of stress can be physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral. Check out the center below for more medical references on stress and heart disease, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Heart Disease in Women
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Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
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Heart Attack Pathology: Photo Essay
A heart attack is a layperson's term for a sudden blockage of a coronary artery. This photo essay includes graphics, pictures, and illustrations of diseased heart tissue and the mechanisms that lead to coronary artery disease, and possible heart attack. A coronary artery occlusion may be fatal, but most patients survive it. Death can occur when the occlusion leads to an abnormal heartbeat (severe arrhythmia) or death of heart muscle (extensive myocardial infarction).
Heart Attack Prevention
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Smoking and Heart Disease
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease in women and men. Nicotine in cigarettes decrease oxygen to the heart, increases blood pressure, blood clots, and damages coronary arteries. Learn how to quit smoking today, to prolong your life.
Heart Disease Treatment in Women
Heart disease treatment in women should take into account female-specific guidelines that were developed by the American Heart Association. Risk factors and symptoms of heart disease in women differ from those in men. Treatment may include lifestyle modification (diet, exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, stress reduction), medications, percutaneous intervention procedure (PCI), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Heart disease is reversible with treatment.
Vitamins & Exercise: Heart Attack Prevention Series
Vitamins and exercise can lower your risk for heart attack and heart disease. Folic acid, vitamins, and homocysteine levels are interconnected and affect your risk for heart disease or heart attack. For better heart health, avoid the following fried foods, hard margarine, commercial baked goods, most packaged and processed snack foods, high fat dairy, and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
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