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Stroke

Stroke Care

A stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and a leading cause of permanent disability. The stroke programs within Infirmary Health's Neuroscience Center of Excellence provide immediate emergency medical treatment to stroke victims to ensure that they receive the treatment they need as soon as possible.

You may be suffering from a stroke if you experience the following symptoms (BEFAST):

  • Balance: loss of ability to balance
  • Eyes: sudden loss of vision
  • Face: loss of facial muscle control
  • Arms: loss of ability to control arms
  • Speech: slurred speech
  • Time: get help as soon as possible.

If you are suffering from a stroke, seek immediate medical assistance by dialing 911.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood supply to the brain or causes a blood vessel in the brain to burst. Stroke does its damage by cutting off blood flow and nutrients to a part of the brain depriving it of oxygen. This can cause long term effects including but not limited to paralysis, trouble speaking or complete loss of the ability to speak, memory loss and trouble performing routine actions such as eating or walking by oneself.

Download our coloring book to teach your family and loved ones the signs and symptoms of stroke!

The Kinds of Strokes

Ischemic Strokes

Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes. They occur when an obstruction blocks the vessel supplying blood to the brain. In order to treat ischemic strokes, the obstruction must be removed.

The gold standard for treating Ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator--otherwise known as r-TPA. Physicians administer r-TPA through an IV, which dissolves the clot and improves blood flow to the brain. The key to receiving r-TPA in the hospital is TIME. Many patients do not arrive in time to the hospital to receive r-TPA; thus, if you notice stroke symptoms in yourself or someone around you, dial 911 or get them to a hospital immediately.

Additionally, ischemic strokes can be removed mechanically through an endovascular procedure or a mechanical thrombectomy. At Mobile Infirmary, neuro-interventionalists and interventional radiologists have access to bi-plane imaging technology, which provides them with greater precision and outcomes when performing thrombectomy procedures.

Mobile Infirmary staff and physicians celebrate the new Philips Angiogram Biplane Technology - December 2021.
Hemorrhagic Strokes

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts often causing death. Two types of weakened blood vessels typically cause hemorrhagic strokes: aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations.

An aneurysm is a ballooning of a weakened region of a blood vessel. If left untreated, the aneurysm continues to weaken until it ruptures and bleeds into the brain. An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a cluster of abnormally formed blood vessels. Any one of these vessels can rupture, also causing bleeding into the brain.

Risk Factors for a Stroke

While some risk factors are hereditary and cannot be helped, most result out of lifestyle choices that are preventable by intentional healthy living.

Hereditary risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender (men are at a heightened risk)
  • Race
  • Diabetes
  • Prior strokes
  • Family history

Controllable risk factors include:

  • Heart disease
  • Transient ischemic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High red blood count

Treatment and Rehabilitation

Stroke can be treated through a combination of medication and physical therapy. The faster a stroke is treated, the more promising the outcome. Usually, thrombolysis treatments are used in which blood thinner medication is inserted into the affected area to break up the clot. Then rehabilitation is used to recover from the strokes affects.

STEPS Stroke Rehabilitation Program

Infirmary Health offers the STEPS stroke rehabilitation program at J.L. Bedsole/Rotary Rehabilitation Hospital. The program is focused on stroke treatment, education, prevention and safety.

With a vision of allowing patients to become health and independent individuals again, the program offers practical assistance such as:

  • Discharge counseling
  • Patient and family education
  • Speech, language, and other therapy
  • Driver evaluations, and
  • Other post stroke rehabilitation services
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