May 24, 2023 Stopping a stroke in its tracks. A Primary Stroke Center can save your life.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Every four minutes, someone dies from a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off by a clot or burst vessel. When the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, cells die.

The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, in which a clot blocks blood flow to the brain. This accounts for about 87 percent of strokes. The other type of stroke, called a hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel ruptures. Left untreated, a stroke can lead to paralysis on one side of the body, speech and language problems, vision problems and memory loss.

A simple treatment

The good news is that quick treatment can help you avoid long-term health problems and death. A drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, works by breaking up a clot and improving blood flow. To be effective, it must be administered within four-and-a-half hours. If tPA is not sufficient to break apart a large clot, a patient may need a mechanical thrombectomy, in which the clot is removed from the brain. If a patient needs this procedure, he or she is transferred to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health “sister” hospital, which is a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Tejas P. DeliwalaMonmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC) has been designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the New Jersey Department of Health. That means doctors can quickly evaluate and treat patients with signs of a stroke. “Patients should not delay treatment due to fears about COVID-19,” says Tejas P. Deliwala, MD, a neurologist and Chair of the Stroke Committee at MMCSC. “The hospital has taken every precaution and is safe. We provide a comprehensive approach to stroke care, including rehabilitation.”

What makes MMCSC a Primary Stroke Center?

To be certified as a Primary Stroke Center, a hospital must meet the following criteria, according to the New Jersey Department of Health:
• Has a stroke team, which includes board-certified neurologists and radiologists
• Has neurology and Emergency Department personnel trained in diagnosing and treating stroke
• Neuroimaging services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
• Offers rehabilitation services
• Has transfer arrangements with a Comprehensive Stroke Center in New Jersey (Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick)
• Has a database or registry for tracking outcomes of stroke patients
• Educates the public about stroke

Signs of a stroke

If you have any of the following symptoms—which are represented in the “BE FAST” acronym—seek medical treatment immediately:
B is for balance (loss of balance, sudden headache, dizziness)
E is for eyes (blurred vision)
F is for face (one side of the face is drooping)
A is for arms (weakness or numbness)
S is for slurred speech or trouble talking
T time to call 911

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a stroke or are with someone who is, call 911.

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