Here’s why it’s so important to recognize stroke symptoms
Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke; every four minutes, stroke takes someone’s life.
One of those options is a procedure called mechanical thrombectomy, and new guidelines published in January 2018 by the ASA say this treatment could help some who suffer from stroke up to 24 hours after the onset of symptoms.
“Mechanical thrombectomy is a procedure that treats ischemic stroke, which occurs when there is a clot inside a vessel that blocks blood flow,” says Dr. Asterios Tsimpas, a neurosurgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “If blood flow to a vessel is cut off, the tissue attached is unable to get the blood supply and nutrients it needs and dies as a consequence. The brain is the most sensitive organ in the body when it comes to lack of blood supply, which is why time is so critical in cases of stroke.”
When performing a mechanical thrombectomy procedure, the neurosurgeon uses a catheter to remove the clot. However, Dr. Tsimpas cautions this type of treatment is not an option for everyone who suffers a stroke.
“To see if a person might benefit from the procedure, we use a scan called CT perfusion to evaluate brain function and blood supply,” says Dr. Tsimpas. “From there, we’re able to create the best treatment plan for each individual.”
Dr. Tsimpas stresses the most important thing to do if you or a loved one exhibits stroke symptoms is to call an ambulance right away.
“When someone has chest and arm pain, people immediately think heart attack,” says Dr. Tsimpas. “When someone sees facial dropping, arm weakness and/or speech difficulty, they should think stroke and get to the hospital immediately.”
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