Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. Yet many people don’t know if they are at risk or how to identify the warning signs. A stroke affects blood flow that supplies the brain with oxygen and nutrients. A stroke is considered a major emergency, and prompt treatment is the most effective way to help reduce the chance of brain damage or death.
Act F.A.S.T. to save lives
FACE Ask the person to smile. Warning sign – One side of the face does not move as well as the other. ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Warning sign – One arm does not move or one arm drifts. SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, such as “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Warning sign – Person slurs words or cannot speak. TIME Find out when the person was last seen well. Advantage – More advanced treatment options may be available if medical care is received within 3 hours of the start of symptoms.
If someone you know is experiencing one or more of these warning signs, call 911 immediately.
Learn your risk
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Every minute that blood flow is not reaching the brain results in 2 million brain cells dying. It is extremely important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke, and get the person to any Norton Healthcare hospital emergency department.
All Norton Healthcare adult-service hospitals are certified primary stroke centers, where highly trained physicians specialize in the rapid evaluation and treatment of stroke patients. Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals are Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Norton Hospital and Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital. And Norton Brownsboro Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award for providing patient care based on nationally recognized, research-based guidelines.
Medical treatment of stroke Stroke patients who get to the hospital within 4.5 hours of the start of stroke symptoms may be treated with intravenous TPA, a medication that breaks up blood clots and has been proven to help unblock arteries to the brain. The sooner the patient receives TPA, the better chance of making a good recovery. Surgical treatment of stroke Patients who arrive at the hospital 4.5 hours or more after the onset of stroke symptoms, or patients who did not respond to intravenous TPA or cannot have TPA due to other health issues may get surgical treatment for stroke. Surgical treatment is endovascular, meaning it is done through a catheter placed in the brain. Specially trained endovascular neurosurgeons insert a catheter in the femoral artery in the leg until it reaches the blocked artery in the brain. They then break up and remove the blood clot, called thrombectomy, to reestablish blood flow to the brain.
Late-breaking research: Endovascular surgery is proven as best option for stroke
Three clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine in early 2015 show that patients who underwent endovascular surgical treatment for stroke had a significantly better recovery than patients who received medical treatment only. These results were presented for the first time at the International Stroke Conference in February 2015. This provides substantial scientific back-up for treatment that has been offered at Norton Healthcare on a 24/7 basis for the past six years. Norton Neuroscience Institute endovascular neurosurgeons use the Solitaire Revascularization Device, an FDA-approved device to remove clots and restore blood flow to the brain, which often prevents devastating strokes.
Norton Neuroscience Institute comprehensive stroke team Norton Neuroscience Institute is home to the region’s most comprehensive stroke team, including surgeons, physicians and care providers specially trained in stroke diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The team is led by physicians who are fellowship trained in stroke treatment.