Stroke, or brain attack, is a leading cause of death and disability among U.S. adults. The effects of stroke may hardly be noticeable, or last a lifetime. Stroke symptoms may be well defined, like weakness on one side of the face and body; or subtle, like changes in speech. Recovery may be complete, partial or minimal.
Spotting the signs of a stroke using the BE FAST guidelines are crucial to limiting brain damage and improving recovery:
Balance: Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?
Eyes: Does the person have sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes?
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Advanced Stroke Procedure: Only Hospital in Lancaster to Perform Mechanical Thrombectomy
A stroke caused by a large blood clot has the greatest chance to cause disability or even death. Lancaster General Hospital is the first and only hospital in Lancaster County to perform mechanical thrombectomy, an advanced procedure for physically retrieving a blood clot from a brain vessel. Specially trained doctors use a catheter inserted through an artery in the groin to send a wire-caged device called a stent retriever to the site of the blocked vessel in the brain. At Lancaster General Hospital, we have procedure rooms dedicated exclusively for stroke care.
Removing a clot from the brain right away provides the best chance for a complete recovery. Having this procedure here in Lancaster eliminates the need to transport a patient to another facility out of the county for stroke treatment.
Click here and here to see TV news stories about the procedure at Lancaster General Hospital.
Lancaster General Hospital is recognized for its exceptional stroke care, consistently earning the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Quality Achievement Award
. The award, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, "recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence."
A Team Effort
Stroke care at Lancaster General Health is a team effort. Often, that effort begins before patients even arrive at the hospital. Emergency responders are trained to start life-saving procedures in the ambulance, and call ahead so hospital personnel are ready to begin appropriate treatment. Rapid treatment, including administering the clot-busting drug tPa (tissue plasminogen activator) and mechanical thrombectomy, can reduce or reverse the damage caused by ischemic stroke.
Even so-called "mini strokes," or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) should be treated as medical emergencies, because they increase the risk of major stroke.
Stroke treatment and rehabilitation are often complex. Our highly trained team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, cardiologists, interventional neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, nurses, nurse care managers, and neuro rehab specialists work together to tailor care to each patient’s needs.
Time is Brain: Quick Action Saves Brain Function
Receiving care as quickly as possible is critical because time is brain. The more quickly a stroke is recognized and treated, the better the chances of preserving brain function. If you see the signs of suspected stroke, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. This is true even if the symptoms seem to go away. An ambulance is the fastest way to medical treatment.
Prevention: The Best Defense Against Stroke
Our primary care providers work closely with patients to reduce their risk of having a stroke. Research shows that most strokes can be traced to specific risk factors. Our providers share strategies to help you control risk factors, the most significant being smoking and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Rehabilitation and Support
Stroke rehabilitation is available on an inpatient, outpatient, or at-home basis, and depending on your needs, may include:
- Physical therapy to increase strength, coordination and motor skills
- Speech therapy to regain speech and swallowing abilities and learn food preparation techniques
- Occupational therapy to help re-learning daily skills like walking, dressing and driving
Our Stroke Survivors Support Group for patients and their caregivers is currently not being held in person. Please call 717-406-3007 for more details.