A stroke occurs when a vessel in the brain ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke) or is blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Ischemic strokes are more common and comprise almost 90% of all strokes. Treatments work to either open the blockage or treat the rupture. The chances of survival are better if the stroke is identified and treated immediately.
Chesapeake Regional Medical Center has a specialized stroke team. If a patient comes into the ER, within 5 minutes they will have been examined by our stroke team. Our nurses have specialized stroke training and are experts in diagnostic testing. Our stroke team has a methodical process to get a stroke patient diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible as described below:
- Process when a 911 call is received
- The EMS crews arrive, check vitals and assess stoke symptoms
- The decision to transport the patient is made
- CRMC’s ED is alerted
- CRMC’s on-call stroke team is alerted
- The patient arrives in the ED and is assessed immediately by a physician
- The patient undergoes a CT scan or other diagnostic testing to determine what stroke type
- Treatments from IV medication to surgery are offered on-site by qualified critical care physicians, neurosurgeons and neurologists.
The gold standard treatment for ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA,). tPA works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow.
Know the Symptoms of Stroke
The best way to treat a stroke is to prevent it. The following warning signs, which are often temporary and last a few minutes, may be due to a "ministroke," called a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Many times TIAs signal the onset of a full-blown stroke:
- 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
Risk factors: Lifestyle, Heredity and History
Any two of these factors put you at a higher risk of a stroke.
- Heart disease
- Previous stroke/TIA
- Family history
- Excessive alcohol use
- Sickle cell anemia