Advanced Primary Stroke Centers
Doctors at The Valley Health System make every effort to foster the best outcome possible for people who have experienced a stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or stopped. Within a few minutes of a stroke, brain cells begin to die.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in the United States. In fact, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. That's why prevention is at the core of our care.
Find a Physician
If you need a referral to a physician at The Valley Health System, call our free physician referral service at 702-388-4888 or search for a doctor online.
The best way to keep your brain healthy is to avoid a stroke in the first place. Some ways to prevent stroke are to do the following:
- Keep your blood pressure controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medications
- Don't smoke or stop smoking
- Take steps to manage your cholesterol
- Limit your alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
Stroke Types and Symptoms
There are two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. In ischemic stroke, the most common type, a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. In hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. Symptoms of stroke include:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg — especially on one side of the body
- Difficulty with speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
For an Ischemic Stroke
If your stroke is diagnosed within three hours of the start of symptoms, you may be given a clot-dissolving medication called tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), which can increase your chances of survival and recovery. However, if you experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, use of t-PA would be life-threatening.
If intravenous (IV) t-PA does not work, t-PA and other clot-dissolving agents can be delivered directly to the area of blockage with the angiogram technique and very small catheters. If these medications don’t work, the clot can potentially be removed with fine-grasping instruments or the blocked vessel can be re-opened with stents.
For a Hemorrhagic Stroke
Initial treatment of a hemorrhagic stroke can be difficult. Efforts are made to control bleeding, reduce pressure in the brain, and stabilize vital signs, especially blood pressure.
There are few medications available to treat hemorrhagic stroke. Surgery generally is not used to control mild to moderate bleeding resulting from a hemorrhagic stroke. However, if a large amount of bleeding has occurred and the person is rapidly getting worse, surgery may be needed to remove the blood that has built up inside the brain and to lower pressure inside the head.
If bleeding is due to a ruptured aneurysm, the choice to perform surgery depends on the location of the aneurysm and the person’s condition following the stroke. Surgery can involve clipping the aneurysm in an open-brain procedure. Another option is neuro coiling to seal the aneurysm. This is a less invasive option, conducted through a cerebral angiography procedure, but is not yet suitable for all aneurysms.
B ALANCE – Does the person have a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
E YES – Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes or have they had sudden double vision?
F ACE – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A RMS – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S PEECH – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is it slurred or strange?
T IME – Time is critical! If you see any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Remember, in an emergency call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.
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