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May is National Stroke Awareness Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about the number one cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. When a stroke happens, time is brain. For every 12 minutes that pass, a pea-sized portion of brain tissue dies. The good news is that with proper education and a healthy lifestyle, about 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented. Smart lifestyle choices can go a long way in controlling risks.
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When it comes to treating stroke, time is brain - meaning the sooner a patient starts receiving treatment after the onset of symptoms, the better his or her chance of experiencing a good outcome. In 2005 Littleton Adventist Hospital became one of the first hospitals in Colorado to be accredited as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, a distinction that recognizes the hospital follows proven protocols and processes for treating stoke quickly and effectively. We were also the first hospital in Colorado to be recognized on the AHA/ASA's Target: Stroke honor roll, signifying our team's effectiveness in the administration of clot-busing medication within the benchmark of 60 minutes.
Learn more about other recognitions our stroke program has received.
May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Do you know the warning signs of stroke? The National Stroke Association suggests F.A.S.T. as not only a quick and easy way to recognize the symptoms but also to remember to act FAST if you suspect someone is having a stroke and call 911.
ACE: A person having a stroke may experience a facial droop.
RMS: A stroke can bring about sudden weakness in one or both arms and the inability to raise them.
PEECH: Does the person have slurred speech or use incorrect words? Is he or she unable to speak at all?
IME: If a person displays any of these symptoms call 911 immediately.
Residents and visitors in the popular Durango and Four Corners areas of Colorado now have access to fast and potentially life-saving stroke treatment through an advanced technology-based program with Littleton Adventist Hospital in Denver.
The program, called Telestroke, is an internet video conferencing system that connects Littleton Hospital neurologists to patients and staff in the emergency room of Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango. Using this technology, a Littleton Hospital neurologist can perform a neurological examination and view computer tomography (CT) scans to evaluate for stroke or conditions that may mimic stroke in clinical presentation. The neurologist also can communicate real-time with the patient and Mercy emergency team while they see and hear each other via a video monitor and internet connection.
According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is a leading cause of adult disability. One form of treatment is to administer a clot busting drug, called tissue plasminogen activator or tPA, that can greatly reduce the disability resulting from a stroke. This drug, however, must be administered within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms and the sonner the administration the better the outcomes.
"Stroke does not discriminate. You can't be hesitant. You need expertise quickly," says Paul Gibson, Mercy's emergency services director. "Telestroke will enable the residents of Durango and surrounding communities to receive expert neurological care in the 'golden hour' when the need for precise diagnosis and immediate treatment can often make the difference between a lifelong disability and a return to normalcy."
Other stroke treatments also depend on rapid access to neurology expertise. "Telestroke brings immediate and effective care to patients who otherwise would not receive stroke care within the eight-hour window for advanced stroke intervention," says Mihaela Alexander, MD, stroke and neurology medical director at Littleton Adventist Hospital.
Littleton Hospital and Mercy are members of the Centura Health Stroke Network. Littleton is one of two acute certified stroke centers within the network that is comprehensive capable, meaning that advanced interventions can be performed to remove the stroke-causing clot in the brain.
If you or a loved one are recovering from a stroke, but are still having difficulty communicating and have finished formal speech therapy, the Littleton Adventist Hospital aphasia support group may be of benefit. The group meets Thursday mornings, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. at the hospital and is led by a speech and language pathologist. For more info contact Connie at 303-798-7614 or
Information is presented on a variety of topics related to the recovery process for both the brain aneurysm survivor and the caregiver. Meetings include an open forum for discussion following presentations and an opportunity for reassurance and personal exchange between survivors and caregivers. For more information contact Janet
Carlson at 303-734-8694 or email@example.com. The group meets the first Wednesday of each month, from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at Littleton Adventist Hospital.
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