It’s All About Time – Surviving and Thriving After a Stroke

April 01, 2018

When someone is experiencing stroke symptoms, time is of the essence.

“During a stroke, the brain loses seven million neurons a minute. When brain cells die, permanent damage can occur, so there is no time to lose in seeking medical treatment,” says Panayiotis Mitsias, M.D., stroke neurologist, Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every four minutes.

Rapid diagnosis, advanced treatment

All patients showing symptoms of an acute stroke need to be evaluated and treated rapidly, which is why Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital has a team of dedicated neurologists and emergency department physicians trained to act fast. It’s critical to determine whether or not a patient can receive therapies such as intravenous tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) and/or endovascular thrombectomy within a very short time of arrival.

Endovascular thrombectomy is a recent treatment option offering much hope for recovery to victims of acute stroke. It is a catheter-based treatment that results in removal of clots obstructing a large intracranial artery. It is an extremely effective treatment option that can be applied within 24 hours of symptom onset.

The clot-dissolving drug tPA must be administered within 4.5 hours of initial stroke symptoms. For both treatments, the sooner they are administered the better.

“Both treatment options improve post-stroke disability and save lives,” Dr. Mitsias says. “For these to be effective, rapid evaluation and treatment is needed.”

With timing of treatment so critical, it is important to be aware of the first signs of stroke, which include face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.

Speak with an expert

If you suspect you or a loved one is having a stroke, call 911 or go to the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Emergency Department. For more information or to schedule a consult with a stroke expert, visit HenryFord.com/Stroke.