Question: If I’m having a stroke, how soon do I need to get treatment?
In recent years, your only hope for stopping a stroke in its tracks was if you got to a properly equipped medical center within three hours of initial symptoms.
Recently, Marshfield Clinic introduced an “intra-arterial” approach that allows us to treat many stroke patients up to six hours after onset and in selected cases even up to 24 hours.
Most strokes are caused by a blockage in a blood vessel going to the brain, or by a rupture of an aneurysm, a bubble-like growth in a vessel.
The affected area is damaged and its functions are harmed or even lost.
About two million brain cells die each minute when such a blockage occurs, increasing the chances of severe neurological deficit like complete paralysis, coma or death.
With the intra-arterial approach, we route a microcatheter to the brain from the leg.
This device, as narrow as a few strands of hair, can pull a clot out of the blocked blood vessel in the brain to re-establish circulation.
Clot-busting medication can also be delivered directly into the clot via this microcatheter.
It’s a remarkable new treatment that can prevent the stroke from progressing and even potentially reverse the deficit in some patients.
Warning signs of a stroke include:
Weakness, tingling, or a loss of feeling on one side of your face or body.
Vision problems such as double vision or trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Difficulty speaking, including slurred speech or problems understanding others.
A headache that is sudden and severe.
Movement problems such as dizziness, a spinning sensation, loss of balance, a feeling of falling, or blackouts.
If you have these potential stroke symptoms, don’t wait and don’t try to drive yourself. Call 911 immediately.
neurosciences experts provide care in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location.