Antithrombotic Medication Prescribed at Discharge Unless otherwise contraindicated, the protocol at Highland Hospital includes prescribing antithrombotic medication for ischemic stroke patients when they are discharged from the hospital. Ischemic stroke is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and blood clots are common components of the blood vessel blockage that causes a stroke to occur. Medications designed to prevent blood clots and break up existing clots (antithrombotic and antiplatelet medications) are used to restore the brain's blood and oxygen flow. Because of the risk for recurrence of stroke after an ischemic stroke has occurred, antiplatelet medication is recommended to reduce this risk. Antiplatelet therapy reduces the risk of a recurrent stroke by more than 20 percent (Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, January 2004: 15(1, Part 2); S87-S101).