Thrombolytic drugs are used in medicine to dissolve blood clots in a procedure termed thrombolysis. They limit the damage caused by the blockage or occlusion of a blood vessel.
Thrombolytic agents are used for the treatment of myocardial infarction (heart attack), thromboembolic strokes, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism to clear a blocked artery and avoid permanent damage to the perfused (see perfusion) tissue (e.g. myocardium, brain, leg) and death. They may also be used to clear blocked catheters that are used in long-term medical therapy.
Thrombolytic therapy in hemorrhagic strokes is contraindicated, as its use in that situation would prolong bleeding into the intracranial space and cause further damage.