May is officially Stroke Awareness Month. What is a stroke and how is it treated?
Stroke is one of the most devastating diseases a patient can experience. Although more common in older adults, or those with underlying medical conditions, stroke can occur at any time- no matter your age. Fortunately, with advances in early diagnosis and treatment, the effects of stroke can be managed and often reversed. The experts at Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine know this better than anyone else. Goodman Campbell neurointerventional radiologist, Krishna Amuluru, MD shared in addition to treating stroke victims here in Indiana, we are working with neurointerventional societies and other physicians across the US and around the world in order to improve stroke access to as many patients as possible, especially in rural and under-served countries.
There are two types of stroke- hemorrhagic or ischemic. Ischemic stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not receive enough blood and oxygen. This may be caused by a blockage in an artery carrying blood to the brain. When this happens nutrients and oxygen are not being delivered and brain cells may begin to die within minutes. Time is especially important when a blockage involves an artery that supplies a large area of the brain. “Time to treatment is one of the most consistent predictors of a successful outcome when examining thrombectomy for acute stroke. Along with successful vessel recanalization, multiple studies have shown that the faster we can open the vessel, the greater chance that patient has towards recovery to their pre-stroke functionality,” says Dr. Amuluru.
Thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the clot and restores blood flow to the brain. Our team of interventional neuroradiologists are specifically trained to perform this complex procedure. Early recognition of symptoms and transport to a thrombectomy-capable center are crucial in obtaining the best possible outcomes. We often say “time is brain” to remind patients that time is critical when treating stroke.
When having a stroke, you may suddenly experience some or all of the following:
- Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
When identifying common symptoms, an easy reminder is to BE FAST.
- Balance loss
- Eyes (vision loss in one or both eyes)
- Facial drooping
- Arm tingling
- Speech difficulty
- Time to call 9-1-1
Dr. Amuluru emphasized significant changes have occurred in the last several years and knowing that we are doing all that we can towards helping patients and their families during perhaps the worst day of their lives is one of the most rewarding aspects of stroke care.