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Stroke Care

T.J. Samson Community Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

T.J. Samson Community Hospital earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

Types of stroke

A stroke happens when there is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain. A person may have a stroke because of a blood clot or similar blockage. A stroke can also happen when a blood vessel bursts.

There are three main types of stroke:

Hemorrhagic stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain. This may happen as a result of complications such as aneurysms (enlargement of an artery) or abnormal tangling of blood vessels.

Hemorrhaging is typically either intracerebral or subarachnoid. An intracerebral hemorrhage happens when an artery in the brain bursts. A subarachnoid hemorrhage happens when bleeding occurs between the brain and the thin tissues covering it.

Ischemic stroke

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A TIA is a type of stroke that lasts only a few minutes. Blood flow can be blocked briefly by a burst blood vessel or blockage (e.g., a plaque buildup that decreases blood flow to the brain).

Though TIAs are short, they still need emergency medical attention. If you notice any signs of a stroke - even if they pass quickly - call 911 for help.

Signs of a stroke

Recognizing stroke symptoms is the best way to prevent brain damage. These are the most common signs of a stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion and/or trouble speaking/understanding
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness and/or loss of balance/coordination
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

The key to stroke treatment: act F.A.S.T

A person having a stroke needs medical help F.A.S.T. Remember this simple acronym to check for common signs of stroke and take action:

F = Facial weakness

Can the person smile? Does the mouth or eye droop?

A = Arm weakness

Can the person raise both arms? Does one arm drop below the other?

S = Speech problems

Can the person speak clearly?

T = Time

It is time to call for help. If any of these symptoms are present, dial 911 for prompt transportation to the closest ER.

Stroke treatment options

Determining the type of stroke the patient is experiencing, usually done through a physical exam, diagnostic imaging and blood work, is necessary to know what treatment is needed.

To treat a blockage, a neurologist may administer emergency medicine, such as tPA, intravenously. Doctors may also perform an endovascular procedure (surgically remove the blockage).

To treat a hemorrhage, a neurologist may use medication, such as blood thinners, to lower your blood pressure. If there is extensive bleeding, a neurosurgeon may need to remove the blood and relieve pressure on the brain. You may also undergo surgery to prevent further rupture.

Preventive stroke surgery

Patients may be eligible for preventive surgery to open a narrowed artery. These procedures promote healthy blood flow to the brain. Neurosurgeons may remove plaque from narrowed arteries, or they may perform an angioplasty to expand the narrowed artery.

Stroke rehabilitation

Strokes are associated with several debilitating side effects. Patients may have issues with their muscles, vision and speech. To help with any short- or long-term effects following a stroke, we offer specialized physical therapy.

Lower your risk of a stroke

You can minimize the likelihood of a stroke through healthy lifestyle changes. Preventable risk factors include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking