Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Often called a “brain attack,” strokes occur when a blood vessel that brings oxygen to the brain becomes clogged or bursts, stopping the blood supply to part of the brain. The symptoms of a stroke may not be painful, but they should be taken seriously. You have a much better chance of surviving a stroke if diagnosis and treatment occurs within a couple of hours of the first symptoms. What are the warning signs of 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
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should be transported to the emergency room immediately.
Our emergency room provides real-time stroke expertise through the telestroke network of the National Brain Aneurysm Center at HealthEast/St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN.
When a patient with possible stroke symptoms arrives at the ER, a brain scan is taken immediately. Then neurologists based at St. Joseph’s Hospital use videoconferencing technology to examine the patient, confirm the diagnosis, interpret the brain images and provide recommendations to ER physicians just as if they were at the bedside. With this “on-demand” specialty consultation, the ER team can quickly develop a care plan and administer clot-busting medications before a critical treatment time window passes. It usually takes less than an hour to complete the telestroke evaluation and begin treatment.
The telestroke program saves precious time that might otherwise be spent transporting a patient with stroke symptoms to the Twin Cities for diagnosis. When treatment begins sooner, stroke patients have a better chance at surviving, with fewer long-term side effects.