Urgency in Detecting a Stroke

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Baptist Health Floyd: Urgency in Detecting a Stroke

Vascular neurologist Vishnumurthy Hedna, MD, warns about the signs of a stroke, describing how emergency room staff can provide fast, life-saving treatment to stroke sufferers.

Urgency in Detecting a Stroke Health Talks Transcript

Vishnumurthy Hedna, MD, Stroke Medical Director
Identifying stroke signs is very important. The most common acronym we use is called “FAST,” F-A-S-T. “F” stands for facial weakness. “A” stands for arm weakness. “S” stands for speech disturbance. Sometimes the patient has slurred speech or they have difficulty comprehending the speech. When you see any of these signs, then “T” stands for time to call 911. That’s the time when we have to bring the patient straight to the emergency room. When there’s a patient on the way with a stroke, there’s a rapid-response activation. Everybody is ready for the stroke patient. As soon as the patient comes into the emergency room, we swarm the patient, take the patient right away for a quick neurological exam and do a CAT scan, labs, X-rays, and EKGs. As soon as we diagnose that there’s a clot in the brain, we immediately administer the clot-busting medication called TPA. A patient should receive the medication within 60 minutes of coming into the emergency room. Our Baptist Floyd hospital staff are so well-trained, in most cases, we are able to administer this medication within 30 minutes. So, as soon as we administer medication, and rapidly the symptoms start to resolve, the happiness that you see on the patient’s face, as well as the family, it’s extremely gratifying.

Strokes are the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. Take our stroke risk assessment to estimate your personal risk of having a stroke, and identify your stroke risk factors and how to improve them.