Do You Know the Warning Signs of Stroke?
The Facts on Stroke
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries to and within the brain. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. It's the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability, according to statistics from the American Heart Association. The average time from symptom onset to emergency care ranges from four to 24 hours in the United States.
If one or more of these symptoms are present, don't delay getting help:
- sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Multiple factors contribute to delays in seeking care for symptoms of stroke: patients are sleeping and symptoms are not discovered until the patient wakes; strokes may leave victims too incapacitated to call for help; occasionally, strokes go unrecognized by patients or their caregivers or patients in remote locations may be hours from a certified stroke center.
- FACE—Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- ARMS—Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- SPEECH—Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?
- TIME—If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 9-1-1 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.
A Difference in Stroke Treatment Locally
Rochelle Community Hospital (RCH) patients with stroke symptoms have always had access to tissue plasminogen activator (or t-PA), which dissolves blood clots and is the current FDA-approved protocol requiring that treatment be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. RCH began working with Central DuPage Hospital's (CDH) stroke center in Winfield, IL, in October 2010. The arrangement between the two hospitals offers patients 24/7 access to CDH's comprehensive stroke center with access to stroke specialists and advanced treatment options.
Designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission since 2006, CDH's program offers advanced interventional treatment options, including FDA-approved devices and participation in clinical trials, with a treatment window up to 24 hours after symptom onset for those who qualify.
The agreement between the two hospitals identified RCH as the first rural hospital in Illinois to use a "robot" via telemedicine to diagnose stroke patients. Emergency room physicians at RCH have 24/7 access via telemedicine "robot" to best access the patient and determine a treatment plan quickly. This provides even better care for patients, while ensuring they receive the necessary treatment to minimize the effects of stroke.
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