If you suspect you or a loved one is having a stroke, you should seek emergency treatment as soon as possible. Stroke treatment is most effective in preventing long term effects if it is given within the first three hours of a stroke’s onset.
While you are in the ER at Mercy Hospital Washington, a telestroke neurologist can see, hear and speak with you and your doctor through the computer. Through the Mercy Telestroke program, neurologists in an off-site location are on call 24 hours a day to diagnose and treat stroke patients in another location using a two-way video system.
How it works:
Treatment with t-PA
The telestroke neurologist and the emergency room doctor decide if you would benefit from a drug called t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator). You will receive this drug through an IV line to dissolve the blood clot that is causing the stroke. It is the only FDA-approved drug to treat ischemic stroke and must be given to a patient within three hours of the stroke’s onset.
For some patients, treatment with t-PA can be extended up to four and one-half hours. T-PA may improve the patient’s chances of recovery from stroke with little or no disability. Studies show that t-PA patients had better outcomes than those who didn’t receive it.
Medical staff will monitor you very closely in an intensive care unit for 24 to 48 hours. During this time, your bedside nurse will perform frequent neurological assessments and monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. Each patient’s response to treatment is different due to the severity of the stroke and stroke risk factors. Recovery time will vary with each person.