Was Your Stroke Treated in Time to Minimize Disability?

Much has been done in medical emergency systems to get appropriate diagnosis, timely interventions, and progressive care in order to minimize disabling conditions and decrease death from stroke.  Ralph Sacco MD, the President of the American Heart Association, spoke to recent data on strokes during a recent video commentary.  While Mr. Sacco acknowledges the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) confirmed that in 2010 stroke dropped from third to fourth leading cause of death in America per the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics), stroke remains the leading cause of disability in adults. (1)

Timely interventions begin with the Emergency Medical System (EMS) response.  Many stroke experts, including the North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians (2), define early intervention steps as the following:

  • Documentation of onset time of symptoms
  • Completion of stroke screen
  • Blood glucose (for hypoglycemia)
  • Thrombolytic screening ( to identify patients who would benefit from clot-busting drug treatment)
  • EMS scene time of 10 minutes or less
  • Documentation of patient’s cardiac rhythm to check for arrhythmias

Timely interventions continue with prompt transfer to a stroke center.  The CDC recommends arrival at the hospital within 2-3 hours of the onset of symptoms, if the patient is a candidate for thrombolytic therapy to minimize the progression of a stroke.  Not all stroke victims are candidates, such as those with suspected of subarachnoid hemorrhage, or uncontrolled hypertension.  For those stroke victims who do meet criteria, arrival at the hospital within 2 hours of onset of symptoms is critical.

If you or your loved one has experienced stroke-related injury or death resulting from standards of care not being met by your health care providers, the Law Office of Stephen L. Grimm 616-459-0220 and his experienced medical staff should be your first call.

1.       CDC:   Stroke drops to fourth leading cause of death in U.S.  Cardiovascular Business, Patient Practice & Technology Management, Editorial Staff, December 13, 2010.  http://www.cardiovascularbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_articles&article=25590.  Accessed February 3, 2011.

2.        Williams I, Mears G, Raisor C, Wilson J. An emergency medical services toolkit for improving systems of care for stroke in North Carolina. Prev Chronic Dis 2009;6(2). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/
. Accessed February 3, 2011.

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