A stroke is a “brain attack”. It can happen to anyone at any time. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost. TIME IS BRAIN!
In 2019, Memorial Health received certification from DNV GL - Healthcare as a Primary Stroke Center, reflecting the highest level of competence for treatment of serious stroke events.
This designation demonstrates that Memorial Health is in full compliance with the most up-to-date guidelines and medical advances for stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or mini strokes.
Research has shown that patients who are treated at a designated stroke center have improved life expectancy and decreased disability.
Our stroke program offers a streamlined approach to stroke care, with utmost priority given to acute stroke patients. Our Emergency Department is able to provide immediate assessment, evaluation and the appropriate intervention. Getting treatment as soon as possible after stroke symptoms begin is crucial to preventing and reversing permanent brain damage and resulting disability.
As a Primary Stroke Center, southeast Georgia residents and visitors can get the care they need close to home and not waste valuable time traveling farther for care after their stroke symptoms begin. Memorial Health strives to meet and exceeds national standards for acute stroke care with a multidisciplinary group of specialists involved in your care.
Our stroke program is the only hospital in the southeast region that offers a mechanical thrombectomy procedure for patients experiencing life changing affects from ischemic stroke. Mechanical thrombectomy is an endovascular procedure performed within 24 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms to remove a clot in eligible patients with a large vessel occlusion. This procedure is performed by our interventional radiologist who use specialized equipment to remove a clot from a patient's artery.
Diagnosis and treatment
There are two main types of stroke. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, it is called an ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs if a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into or around the brain.
Patients brought to Memorial Health with stroke symptoms are evaluated in our emergency department. Evaluation for stroke includes:
- CT scan of the brain
- Blood work
- Chest x-ray
- Swallow studies
It is important that anyone experiencing symptom call 911 rather than driving to the hospital. EMS personnel can communicate with the hospital en route and EMS patients are transported immediately to CT scanner.
Patients who are diagnosed with an ischemic stroke, and whose stroke symptoms began within the previous 3-4.5 hours, are offered tPA, a clot dissolving drug, if appropriate to help restore blood flow to the brain.
Patients diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke may be taken to surgery or to our intensive care unit for monitoring.
Our stroke team
Patients who need hospitalization are treated on our dedicated stroke unit. This unit is staffed by nurses who have received additional training in stroke care. These nurses teach all patients about follow up care, stroke prevention and lifestyle modification before they leave the hospital. Our stroke team includes caregivers from:
- Emergency medicine
- Interventional Radiologist
- Rehabilitation services
- Case management
Our multidisciplinary team is committed to promoting functional return to daily activities. All stroke patients are evaluated for indications of need for physical or speech therapy.
Stroke risk factors
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart Disease
- Excessive Alcohol use
- Physical inactivity & obesity
- Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heart beat)
- Family history of stroke
Stroke warning signs — Act FAST!
Stroke is an emergency. Time wasted before seeking treatment can translate to brain cells lost and can increase the chances of a poor outcome. For tPA to be effective, it must be given within four hours of the onset of symptoms. Call 911 immediately if a person is experiencing any of these symptoms:
B is for Balance: Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?
E is for Eyes: Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes?
F is for Face: Does the person's face look uneven?
A is for Arms: Is one arm hanging down?
S is for Speech: Is the person's speech slurred?
T is for Time: Call 911 now!
Call 911 immediately! Time is Brain!