Acting F.A.S.T. is key to stroke survival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month. A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. Most strokes are caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain (ischemic stroke). Other strokes are caused by bleeding into brain tissue when a blood vessel bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). According to the CDC, every year about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke and 140,000 people die from one.
Stroke Symptoms
Treating a stroke quickly can reduce damage to the brain. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test:
F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 911 right away.
In the event of a possible stroke, call 911 and choose the closest ER. The brain is affected as soon as the first symptoms appear. When it comes to a stroke, “time is brain.”
Emergency Stroke Care
Through our Telestroke program, ER physicians at St. James Parish Hospital have the ability to consult immediately with an off-site Ochsner vascular neurologist 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to determine the best treatment options for stroke patients.
Utilizing secure wireless data and video communication, Ochsner’s stroke team partners with clinicians at St. James Parish Hospital to evaluate, diagnose, and direct care for stroke patients, as well as to ensure that timely thrombolytic therapy – to dissolve blood-clots – is administered (when appropriate). Ischemic stroke, the most common, is usually caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.
The drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is the only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes. tPA is a medication given through an IV that works by dissolving blood clots and improving blood flow to the brain. This treatment is offered at St. James Parish Hospital and has been extremely effective in saving lives in our community.
The Telestroke Program, an innovative approach to stroke care, has helped us:
Reduce the time needed to determine if a patient suffered a stroke
Increase the percentage of patients receiving tPA
Reduce the death rate associated with stroke
Post Stroke Care
Depending on the severity of a stroke, many patients may need additional, longer-term care before they are ready to return home or to a nursing home. St. James Parish Hospital is certified to provide quality, close-to-home skilled nursing services to help patients who may need extensive Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy following a stroke.
Our program is typically covered by insurance for qualified patients. Patients who choose St. James Parish Hospital for skilled (swing bed) services have easier access to specialists, diagnostics and emergency treatment if needed.
For those patients who are discharged home, St. James Parish Hospital also has an experienced multidisciplinary team that offers outpatient Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. Our therapists use the latest-evidence based practices to help patients regain independence and function to return to the hobbies and lifestyles they enjoy.