Every minute counts when someone is having a stroke. Strokes occur when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. When a person begins suffering a stroke, brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop receiving the oxygen and nutrients they need to function. This is why immediate medical attention is necessary and why being in the right place at the right time can make a significant difference in their outcome. If you are having a stroke, Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital is the right place for prompt emergency medical care, preferably within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
The Stroke Team at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital provides a patient-centered approach to assessing and diagnosing stroke to promptly begin appropriate treatment during the critical early stages of a stroke. When a stroke patient arrives at the hospital, an alert system called “Code Brain” goes into effect to provide early intervention that may mean the difference between a return to normalcy or a life with disability.
A computerized tomography scan is performed immediately and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting drug, may be administered if necessary. When a patient is having a stroke, doctors must first determine whether the stroke is caused by a clot (ischemic stroke) or by a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic) before tPA can be used. This is because tPA can only be used for ischemic strokes, which account for about 87 percent of all strokes. When given within three hours of the first stroke symptoms, patients who receive tPA were at least 30 percent more likely to recover with little or no disability after three months.
To help determine the type of stroke occurring and treat it appropriately, the Stroke Team at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital can access Specialists on Call. This service allows emergency room doctors to work with neurologists around the clock via state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology to provide necessary treatment. “Specialists on Call and the staff at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital follow current clinical protocols for emergency neurology and stroke care in the course of diagnosis and treatment decisions,” says Cindy Hudgens, RN, BSN, cardiovascular and stroke coordinator at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital. “The Specialists on Call neurologist completes an examination with the help of the on-site nurse and staff, and then collaborates with the on-site emergency physician to suggest a plan of action, which the emergency physician carries out.”
Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital’s higher standard of care for stroke patients has been recognized by several leading health organizations. The hospital received the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission and has been recognized as a Primary Stroke Center. The hospital also is one of only six hospitals in the city of Houston and the only one in the Cy-Fair area to achieve this advanced certification. According to the Eleventh Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital received a five-star ranking for clinical excellence in the treatment of stroke, the fourth year in a row that the hospital has achieved this distinction (2006-2009). In addition, the hospital recently received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM–Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award.
“These awards recognize our commitment and success in implementing a level of care that effectively improves treatment of patients hospitalized after experiencing a stroke,” says Hudgens. “We are well positioned to care for the growing number of patients eligible for treatment due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population.”
An estimated 700,000 Americans suffer from stroke or recurrent stroke annually, making it a leading cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Warning signs of a stroke include:
· Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body.
· Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye.
· Sudden difficulty speaking or trouble understanding speech.
· Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
· Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially with any of the other signs.
Other danger signs that may occur include double vision, drowsiness, and nausea or vomiting.
For a free slide glide on the warning signs and risk factors for stroke and heart attack, call 1-800-681-2733. For more information about award-winning stroke services at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital, visit www.CyFairHospital.com.