Act fast in the event of a stroke
Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. African-Americans have a higher rate of death or disability from stroke than the general U.S. population. But knowledge is power when it comes to stroke.
“If you know the signs of stroke and get the right medical care quickly, the chances of a good recovery rise dramatically,” says Michel Torbey, MD, medical director of OSU Medical Center’s Neurovascular Stroke Center. “That means calling 911 as soon as you recognize signs in yourself or in someone nearby.”
When a stroke occurs, the brain’s blood supply is cut off by a clot or by a broken blood vessel. Brain cells begin to die within minutes. A quick diagnosis and delivery of a clot-busting drug or surgery within three to six hours can mean less damage and even full recovery. “That’s why in our business, we say, ‘time is brain,’” Dr. Torbey explains.
‘America’s Best’ Stroke Care
When a stroke patient arrives at The Ohio State University Medical Center, the highly trained stroke team is prepared to fight for a good outcome. “Comprehensive care is not just a buzzword in the OSU Stroke Center,” says team member Eric Sauvageau, MD, who is dually trained as a neurological and endovascular surgeon. Round-the-clock stroke intervention includes dual-trained physicians who each specialize in more than one aspect of stroke care. That means less time must be spent tracking down specialists as needs arise. It’s also one of many reasons why U.S.News& World Report ranks Ohio State’s Neurology and Neurosurgery program among “America’s Best.”
Once emergent stroke care is completed, the next step is to focus on recovery. Ohio State’s Stroke Rehabilitation Program at Dodd Hall is the only rehab program in central Ohio that’s certified in stroke and brain injury by the highly respected accreditation body CARF International. And it consistently ranks in the top 20 of U.S. News’ “Best Rehabilitation Hospitals.”
“The strength of our program is that we care about the patient holistically…emotionally, spiritually, their family, their home setup.We are about teamwork with the patient,” says Sharon McDowell, MD, director of Stroke Rehabilitation.
Know the Signs
Stroke is an emergency. It can cause permanent loss of function and death. But damage can be prevented if the right care is delivered quickly, says Dr. Torbey. Get help immediately or call 911 if you see these signs — even if symptoms subside:
• weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding
• problems with vision such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes
• dizziness or problems with balance or coordination
• problems with movement or walking
• severe headaches with no other known cause
There are two different types of stroke:
• Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed, cutting off oxygen and blood do a portion of the brain. About 85 percent of all strikes are ischemic.
• Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, leaking blood into the brain. About 15 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic, yet they are responsible for more than 30 percent of all deaths from stroke.
Go to medicalcenter.osu.edu/go/afam to take our stroke risk assessment quiz. The quiz asks questions about your age, family history and personal lifestyle.