Stroke - What You Need To Know

What is a Stroke?

In Louisiana, they are one of the top causes of death and disability. A stroke happens when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain either bursts (a hemorrhagic stroke) or its passage is stopped by a clot (an ischemic stroke). Brain cells die when deprived of the blood and oxygen they need, and if blood flow is blocked for too long, bodily functions associated with those obstructed areas can cease to function properly.

Signs of a Stroke

Knowing what to look for can go a long way in saving someone’s life. The sooner you react, the better the stroke sufferer’s chances. Fortunately, there is an easy acronym to remember so you can always recall the signs of a stroke: B.E.F.A.S.T.

  • Balance – Is the person having difficulty maintaining balance?

  • Eyes – Is the person having difficulty seeing/visual disturbances?

  • Face Drooping – Is one side of the face numb? Does it seem uneven? If it’s hard to tell, ask the person to smile.

  • Arm Weakness – Ask the person to lift both arms up. If one arm is too weak, numb, or begins to drift down, that’s another sign of a stroke.

  • Speech Difficulty – Slurred speech is an obvious giveaway. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like "The cat says "meow.” If the person slurs their words, can’t speak, or finds it hard to understand, that, too is an indication.

  • Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone is exhibiting any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1. If the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1. Take the person to the hospital right away. Don’t wait. Be proactive. Note the time that the symptoms occurred so you can tell hospital staff.

What Happens When A Stroke Patient Arrives at Slidell Memorial?

Our specialized stroke team will be ready to provide you with the best care possible. Here is what you can expect:

  • You will be given top priority in the ER.

  • Code Stroke will be called, and the Rapid Response Team will arrive.

  • You will be seen by one of our physicians within 10 minutes.

  • A blood sample will be drawn and sent to the lab for analysis.

  • NIHSS and VAN assessments will be performed within 15 minutes.

  • A CT scan of your brain will be performed within 20 minutes.

  • A physician will interpret results of the CT scan within 45 minutes.

  • If you are diagnosed with a stroke, you will be admitted to a unit staffed with personnel that have specialized training in stroke care.

  • If you require a transfer to a hospital that can provide a higher level of care, you will be on your way to that facility within 120 minutes.

  • Once admitted, you will receive comprehensive treatment for your specific condition.

  • If you are a candidate for thrombolytic therapy (t-PA), it will be initiated within 60 minutes of your arrival in the ER.

  • Your vital signs and neurological condition will be monitored frequently at predetermined intervals.

  • Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapy specialists will be involved in your treatment.

  • When you are ready for discharge, you will be provided with education about stroke, how to recognize it and factors you can control that increase your likelihood of having another stroke.

  • Once discharged, you will be given medications that will, depending on your lab results, lower your cholesterol, lower coagulation ability of your blood, or lower the potential for your blood to form thrombus.

Remember—the biggest problem with stroke treatment is reaction time. Learn the signs and act quickly.