Learn to Recognize a Stroke
and Act Quickly
- 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
"Seconds are precious to minimize the damage caused by stroke," says Debi Murphy, coordinator of the Diamond Stroke Center. "Learn the symptoms of stroke. If stroke is suspected, don't hesitate-call 911 right away." EMS personnel assess the patient and notify the Emergency Trauma Center to activate the AMH stroke team. On arrival, patients are evaluated to determine if the stroke was caused by a blood clot or hemorrhage.
If a blood clot is the cause, the team may administer rt-PA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator) a drug that breaks up clots so that circulation is restored to brain tissue, if patients qualify. "After treatment, we focus on risk factors for secondary prevention," adds Murphy, who has been recognized by the American Stroke Association for her efforts in stroke awareness and prevention. AMH continues to develop stroke programs, and the hospital has played a leadership role in stroke care in the Delaware Valley. AMH presents programs to educate EMS personnel, nurses and other medical professionals.