Stroke care and treatment at the DMH Brain & Stroke Center begins in the Emergency Care Center. There are defined clinical care paths and standing orders for suspected stroke patients so that you receive care FAST!
Why is there a need to act FAST?
In the recent past, nothing could be done to stop a stroke. That is no longer true today. Patients who get to the DMH Brain & Stroke Center quickly, after the onset of stroke symptoms, may be candidates for stroke reversal therapy.
Ischemic strokes, the most common strokes, can be treated with a clot busting medication called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Clots can also be mechanically removed.
Clot busters work by dissolving the blood clot that is blocking the vessel and causing the stroke. Patients only have a limited window of opportunity to receive clot busting medication, which is why it is so important to get to the hospital fast. Unfortunately, not all patients with an acute ischemic stroke will be able to be treated with clot busting medication. It is best to seek care quickly.
There are two ways to get rid of a blockage caused by a blood clot in the artery. The clot can be dissolved with tPA as mentioned above, or the clot can be mechanically removed using the Merci Retriever. This is the first device developed specifically for removal of clots from arteries in the brain. It is a wire shaped like a corkscrew that can be “screwed” into the clot and extracted. With the clot removed, normal blood flow returns to the affected area of the brain and the effects of the stroke are completely or partially reversed. This new retriever system opens the treatment window to up to 8 hours after the start of a stroke.
When you arrive at the hospital you will be asked questions about your medical history and current health. You will also undergo a physical exam, a neurological exam, blood tests, and a computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain. In addition to a CT scan, you may have another brain scan using other equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The brain scans are given to help find out the cause of your symptoms. It may show an ischemic stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke, or it may show that the symptoms are caused by something else.
SPECIALIZED TEAM MEMBERS
Stroke patients at the DMH Brain & Stroke Center have 24/7 access to stroke experts. You will receive the highest level of care at the most appropriate time.
DMH Brain & Stroke Center team members you may meet include:
- Emergency physicians
- Medical physicians
- Neurointerventional radiologists
- Vascular Surgeons
- Nursing specialists
- Radiology technicians
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Stroke Coordinator