Knowing the ins and outs of comprehensive stroke care can save valuable time when it comes to getting the proper care for yourself or a loved one.
Although stroke rates have declined over the past two decades due to improved medical care and better control of risk factors, stroke remains the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability.
One thing that all medical professionals can agree on is that when a stroke occurs, time is of the essence. During a stroke, the brain loses 1.9 million neurons every minute, and every 30 minutes of delay in receiving stroke therapy results in a 10 to 15 percent reduction in good outcomes.
That’s why every second counts — and when time is of the essence, having access to comprehensive care is crucial.
What is Comprehensive Stroke Care?
There are two types of stroke centers: primary and comprehensive. Both play a critical role in the timely treatment of a stroke. During a stroke, it is critical to get to the closest stroke center as fast as possible.
Primary stroke centers can quickly evaluate a patient and administer a blood clot busting medication known as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). If TPA is given early in the attack, it can help to dissolve the blood clot in the brain and restore blood flow, thereby limiting the amount of brain function lost.
When medication intervention isn’t enough, comprehensive stroke centers provide the next level of advanced stroke care. This includes the ability to provide surgical interventions from highly specialized neurosurgeons, such as the endovascular removal of a blood clot.
Why Does Comprehensive Stroke Care Matter for Patients?
Having access to a highly specialized, multidisciplinary stroke care team improves patient outcomes overall. If, after administration of the TPA treatment, the patient still exhibits a neurological deficit, additional imaging can quickly identify the amount of viable brain tissue that can potentially be saved. From there, highly trained neurosurgeons can determine whether surgical intervention is necessary.
Comprehensive stroke centers also provide comprehensive post-stroke assessment and hospital-level after care, which is critically important to the rehabilitation of a patient. Specialists focus on a range of treatments that target the re-growth of neuromuscular systems, and administer aggressive physical, occupational and speech therapy to speed recovery and improve quality of life.
Remember: If You Suspect a Stroke, Act F.A.S.T.
A stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment. Each minute lost during a stroke increases the chance of stroke-related disability or death. By knowing and recognizing the warning signs of stroke, you can be prepared to call for help right away. By acting F.A.S.T. you can ensure timely medical treatment for you or your loved one.
●Face: Look for an uneven smile.
●Arm: Check if one arm is weak.
●Speech: Listen for slurred speech.
●Time: Call 9-1-1 immediately.