Even though 730,000 Americans experience a stroke every year, few know the warning signs. As a result, 160,000 people a year die of stroke. According to the American Heart Association, strokes rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Thankfully, stroke is one of the most preventable of all life-threatening health problems. Providence Medical Center is committed to helping patients avoid having a stroke. However, in the event that one occurs, we ensure that patients receive the very best life-saving care available.
If a patient having a stroke receives emergency treatment at Providence, our medical team can often stop the stroke by utilizing a remarkable medication called tissue plasminogen activator or T-PA.
The body uses this natural substance to dissolve blood clots. In the case of a stroke, T-PA can often be administered directly to attack the clot causing the stroke and restore blood flow to the brain, helping the patient avoid major brain damage.
T-PA must be administered to the patient within three hours of the onset of the stroke, and patients must meet a set of criteria to ensure that they are suitable candidates for an intervention of this type.
Because it is important to get a stroke victim to the emergency department quickly, the National Stroke Association devised a simple test to help people act quickly. It is called Act F.A.S.T. and is based on this acronym.
F=Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A=Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S=Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T=Time: If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call
9-1-1 or get to the nearest stroke center or hospital.