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Stroke Care

At HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, we recognize the importance of time when a stroke occurs. A stroke attacks your brain, so the more time that’s wasted during a stroke, the more brain you’ll lose. You could even lose your life.

Doctor taking patients hands into both of their hands

Our team of stroke care professionals, neurologists and telemedicine specialists are qualified and prepared to help you during those crucial moments. Within seconds of arriving to our emergency department, patients with stroke symptoms go immediately to the radiology department for a CT scan and receive an evaluation that results in a quick diagnosis and course of treatment. As your recovery process begins, we develop an individualized treatment plan to help you on the road to recovery.

Technician moving a patient into CT machine

Emergency Stroke Care

Your specialized stroke care begins the moment you enter our emergency department (ED). Suspected stroke patients are sent immediately for a CT scan of the head, and the results are obtained from the radiologist within minutes of completion.
 
While the patient is still in the ED, the emergency department physician will make contact with a neurologist who specializes in stroke, a neurosurgeon or a stroke interventionalist based upon the results of the patient’s CT scan. Stroke care decisions are made immediately upon receiving the CT scan images, lab results and the patient’s overall condition.
 
Timing is of particular importance for stroke patients as those who present within 4.5 hours of symptom onset are prime candidates for the drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). T-PA is a game-changing stroke treatment that helps dissolves clots and restores blood flow to the brain tissue that is dying from lack of oxygen.  

Our Guidelines

The nurses and physicians within the emergency department follow a specialized set of guidelines as recommended by the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association, which are reviewed on a regular basis by specialists worldwide. 

A young granddaughter is helps her grandmother grasping her head during a stroke

Know the signs and symptoms

A stroke is an interruption in the blood flow to our brain from either a clot or a break in the blood vessel. It is critical for someone who is experiencing signs or symptoms of a stroke to be transported to the hospital by trained medical personnel immediately. Early recognition is key, and a stroke is a medical emergency. Treatment options depend on the type, source and location of the stroke.

Signs & Symptoms 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body 
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech 
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance 
  • Sudden severe headache without a known reason

BE FAST acronym will help you remember the signs of a stroke


Stroke support group

This support group is for stroke surviviors who are still in the workforce, are raising a family or have other typical mid-life obligations and responsibilities. The group will share the challenges and successes of getting back into the daily swing while adjusting to a “new normal.” Many survivors share similar injuries and, through support, will discover inspiration and improved recovery outcomes. The group will also learn about stroke treatments.

Survivors, caregivers, spouses, family and medical professionals are welcome. Though a focused group, all ages and those in all stages of life are welcome to join. For questions or additional information, contact Kathy Hampsey at 217-814-4874 or Kathryn.Hampsey@hshs.org.