Background: Thromboembolic ischemic stroke, which is mainly caused by hypertension, as well as
plasma dyslipidemia, arterial fibrillation and diabetes, is a leading cause of death in the US and other countries.
Numerous clinical trials for thrombolytic drugs, which aimed to pharmacologically dissolve thrombi, were conducted
in the 1950s, when the first thrombolytic therapy was performed.
Method: In this study, we summarize the pathophysiologic features of ischemic stroke, and the history of thrombolytic
therapy, and discuss the recent progress that has been made in the ongoing development of thrombolytic
Conclusion: Thrombolytic therapy is sometimes accompanied by harmful hemorrhagic insults; accordingly, a
window of time wherein therapy can safely be performed has been established for this approach. Several basic
and clinical studies are ongoing to develop next-generation thrombolytic drugs to expand the time window.