Strokes and Portable CT Scanners

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A Chicago hospital has attempted to decrease the time between stroke and CT scan by implementing the use of a portable CT scan. Following a stroke tPA must be administered before 3 hours have lapsed and since tPA is a dangerous drug, the fact that a stroke has occurred needs to be verified by a CT scan before the drug is administered. The hospital analyzed the length of time required to bring someone into their stationary CT scanner versus the length of time required to take the portable CT scanner to the patient.

While they found only a .1% difference, Dr. Alderson and Dr. Weinreb said that “while saving minutes from the door-to-scan time was helpful, the real issue with stroke is timely arrival at the hospital. Too often, Dr. Alderson said, patients arrive at the hospital complaining that symptoms started the previous night.”

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Lessen to be learned here – know the symptoms of stroke! “ Hope for Stoke” lists the following:

1) Strokee will have a crooked smile when asked to smile, if crooked call 911.

2) Ask the stroke to hold their arms out like they were sleep walking. If one is lower than the other call 911.

3) If speech is garbled or word is incorrect, call 911.

If any of the above signs are shown call 911 immediately and get to a hospital.

The American Heart Association lists the following “Stroke Warning Signs” :

If you notice one or more of these signs, don’t wait. Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency medical services. Get to a hospital right away!

The American Stroke Association wants you to learn the warning signs of stroke:

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Be prepared for an emergency.

• Keep a list of emergency rescue service numbers next to the telephone and in your pocket, wallet or purse.

• Find out which area hospitals are primary stroke centers that have 24-hour emergency stroke care.

• Know (in advance) which hospital or medical facility is nearest your home or office.

Take action in an emergency.

• Not all the warning signs occur in every stroke. Don’t ignore signs of stroke, even if they go away!

• Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom start? You’ll be asked this important question later.

• If you have one or more stroke symptoms that last more than a few minutes, don’t delay! Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical service (EMS) number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can quickly be sent for you.

• If you’re with someone who may be having stroke symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or the EMS. Expect the person to protest — denial is common. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Insist on taking prompt action.

About Penny R Miller, MS, LPC, CBIS

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