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.