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September 19, 2018

Stroke Care: Emergency Room Tips

Stroke Care: Emergency Room Tips

Patients and families in Richmond and Dallas Texas call 911 or go to Frontline ER as soon as they experience a likely indication of a stroke.

You may have heard about it, but are still wondering what a stroke is.  Well, when the blood supply to a part of your brain is reduced or interrupted, the brain tissue is deprived of oxygen and nutrients.  Shortly after, the brain cells begin to die, and that’s when a stroke occurs.

Stroke is one of the top causes of death in the United States. Nearly 800,000 people have a stroke each year. A stroke is considered a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is highly recommended.

The good news is that brain damage, and potential complications are preventable if early action victims take prompt action. In this article, FrontLine ER explains why strokes occur and how they are treated, as well as exploring the different steps a person can take to prevent a stroke.

Types of Stroke

Ischemic strokes are caused by narrowed or blocked arteries caused by fatty deposits (plaque) and other debris that have built up. A temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain leads to a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ministroke

Hemorrhagic strokes happen through the bursting of a blood vessel that allows blood to leak into the brain. Brain illnesses could also be as a result of uncontrolled high blood pressure, overtreatment with blood thinners, and the presence of aneurysms.

Pay attention to these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke.

  • Experiencing  problems with walking, speaking and understanding
  • paralysis of the arm, leg or face
  • Poor vision in one or both eyes.
  • A headache, vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness,

Some potentially treatable factors that can increase your risk of having a stroke attack include:

  • Lifestyle risk factors like obesity, physical inactivity, binge drinking and use illicit drugs such as meth and cocaine.
  • Medical risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea
  • Age, sex, hormones and family history can also be contributing factors.

When to Seek Emergency Treatment at Frontline ER

It is essential to go for immediate medical attention if you notice the above symptoms even when they seem to change. Since every minute counts, the longer a stroke remains untreated, the higher the risk of sustaining brain damage or disability.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Stroke at Frontline ER

To determine the most appropriate treatment for your stroke, the emergency team at FrontLine ER will evaluate the type of stroke you’re having and the areas of your brain that have been affected by the stroke.

Your doctor will ask about your personal and family history, what medications you have been taking and if you have experienced any injuries of late.

He/she will also check your blood pressure and use a stethoscope to check for any indication of atherosclerosis. The doctor may also use an ophthalmoscope to check for signs of clots in the blood vessels and at the back of your eyes.

Your doctor may order several tests to determine your risk of getting a stroke, including:

  • Blood tests which tell the rate at which blood clots
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) help create a detailed image of the brain
  • Carotid ultrasound creates complete pictures of the inside of the arteries in your neck.
  • An echocardiogram provides comprehensive images of your heart to find the source of clots in your heart that may have moved from your heart to your brain and caused your stroke

All these Frontline ER examinations will help rule out the possibilities of a brain tumor or a drug reaction.

Emergency treatment with medications like clot-busting drugs must start soonest. These drugs can be via intravenous injection of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The dose is usually given within three hours after stroke symptoms begin to restore blood flow by dissolving the blood clots.

Doctors may also perform intra-arterial thrombolysis by inserting a catheter through an artery in your groin and thread it to your brain to deliver tPA directly.  The procedure is useful for people with large clots that wouldn’t dissolve with tPA.

Surgery may be used to repair blood vessel abnormalities and eliminate the risk of rupture associated with hemorrhagic strokes.

  • Surgical arteriovenous malformation (AVM removal) can take place if the AVM is in an accessible area of your brain.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, an advanced minimally invasive treatment used to repair vascular malformations using multiple beams of highly focused radiation.

The doctor might also consider prescribing a combination of low-dose aspirin and anti-platelet drugs to reduce the risk of blood clotting.

Lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, exercising, limiting your intake of cholesterol, and alcohol, can support healthy blood pressure.  Properly managing diabetes and treating obstructive sleep apnea could go a long way in preventing a stroke.

Strokes are a life-changing event that can significantly affect a person physically and emotionally. Successful recovery will often involve specific therapies such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy. This treatment helps a patient to relearn movement and co-ordination thus improving their ability to carry on with normal life.

Emergency Care, Emergency Room