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Stroke Care

Stroke Care

Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke.

Every 3.3 minutes, one of those people will die, making stroke the third leading cause of death in the U.S. today.

Stroke, also called a brain attack, is the number one cause of adult disability and the number three cause of death in the United States, striking more than 600,000 Americans each year.

Symptoms of Stroke?

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Sudden change in vision
  • Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

To learn how to Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T. , visit spotastroke.org.

What To Do During a Stroke

Don't ignore the symptoms. Get help fast! Call 911. As the American Heart Association states, "Time lost is brain lost."

Stroke Risk Factors

The American Stroke Association has identified several factors that increase the risk of stroke. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of stroke. Some can't be controlled, such as increasing age, family health history, race and gender. But most others can be changed or treated to lower the risk of stroke. Factors resulting from lifestyle or environment can be modified with a healthcare provider's help.

  • Age -- The American Stroke Association reports that the chance of having a stroke more than doubles for each decade of life after age 55. While stroke is common among the elderly, many people under 65 also have strokes.
  • High blood pressure -- High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke. Stroke risk varies directly with blood pressure. Effective treatment of high blood pressure is an important deterrent to stroke.
  • Cigarette smoking -- Research shows cigarette smoking to be an important risk factor for stroke. The use of oral contraceptives combined with cigarette smoking greatly increases stroke risk.
  • Sex - Stroke has no preference regarding gender. The incidence and prevalence of stroke are about equal for men and women. However, at all ages, more women than men die of stroke.
  • Heredity (family history) and race -- The chance of stroke is greater in people who have a family history of stroke. African Americans have a much higher risk of disability and death from a stroke than whites, in part because of a greater incidence of high blood pressure, a major stroke risk factor.
  • Prior Stroke -- The risk of stroke for someone who has already had one is many times that of a person who has not.
  • Diabetes mellitus -- Diabetes is an independent risk factor for stroke and is strongly correlated with high blood pressure. While diabetes is treatable, having it increases a person's risk of stroke. People with diabetes often also have high cholesterol and are overweight, increasing their risk even more.
  • Carotid artery disease -- The carotid arteries in your neck supply blood to your brain. A carotid artery damaged by atherosclerosis (a fatty buildup of plaque in the artery wall) may become blocked by a blood clot, which may result in a stroke.
  • Heart disease -- People with heart problems have more than twice the risk of stroke as those whose hearts work normally. Heart attack is also the major cause of death among stroke survivors.
  • Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) -- TIAs are "mini strokes" that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. They are strong predictors of stroke. A person who's had one or more TIAs is almost 10 times more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn't.

What makes a comprehensive stroke center different?

The additional resources, technology and personnel required for a Comprehensive Stroke Center certification are substantial and could make all the difference in a stroke patient's recovery.

The requirements for Comprehensive Stroke Center certification are rigid and extensive, but they're what differentiate exceptional hospitals, like Memorial.

The Where for Stroke Care
Because stroke is the last thing on your mind, you'll be glad to know that it's always the first thing on ours. Listen to Mike's story.

TMH Partners with Memorial Medical Center and Teleneurology Technology

TMH partners with Memorial Medical Center TEAMStroke to provide real-time audio-video conferencing through Telestroke technology. Round-the-clock access to MMC’s TEAMStroke enables us to quickly and accurately assess, diagnose and treat stroke patients. When a suspected stroke patient arrives at TMH, the Emergency Department staff will immediately begin executing evidenced-based stroke protocols that contain a standardized neurological assessment and diagnostic tests. Once a stroke is suspected, the emergency physicians at TMH will partner with stroke-trained neurologists at Memorial Medical Center using videoconferencing technology installed in TMH’s Emergency Department.

Using a secure web camera video, the stroke neurologist performs a quick assessment of the patient. Neuroimages taken at TMH are transmitted electronically to Memorial for a real-time consultation with the stroke neurologist.

TMH’s clinical team and the stroke neurologist work together and carry out the best treatment option for the patient, said Sajjad Mueed, MD, Memorial Stroke Center medical director and a neurologist with SIU School of Medicine.

The vast majority of strokes are ischemic, which means an artery to the brain is blocked. To treat the stroke, physicians must restore blood flow to the brain as soon as possible. “A clot-busting drug, called tPA, is effective at restoring blood flow if it’s administered within a few hours of the onset of the stroke,” Mueed said.

In some stroke cases, patients will require a higher level of care and can be quickly transferred to Memorial Medical Center, which offers neurointerventional radiology services. Augusto Elias, DDS, MD, neurointerventional radiologist with Clinical Radiologists, S.C., based in Springfield, performs minimally invasive interventional techniques to thread tiny catheters and wires through a patient’s blood vessels to eliminate clots and restore blood flow to the brain.

Memorial Medical Center is certified as a comprehensive stroke center by The Joint Commission. The certification recognizes Memorial for “exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care,” according to The Joint Commission. Comprehensive stroke centers tailor treatment to individual needs, adhere to national stroke guidelines and continually assess and improve how care is delivered.

Memorial offers a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to stroke care with an integrated program that addresses the complete spectrum of care from prevention to rehabilitation, Teresa Reiser, Memorial Medical Center’s director of neuromuscular sciences, said.

Memorial’s rehabilitation facilities are among only a handful of others worldwide to hold a fivefold accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, including accreditation for its stroke specialty program.