Did you know that anyone can have a stroke? In fact, in the United
States, stroke is the fifth cause of death and a leading cause of adult
disability, according to the American Stroke Association. Someone
suffers a stroke every 40 seconds in the United States, and every four
minutes someone dies as a result. According to the National Institute of
Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80 percent of strokes are preventable
by reducing risk factors and using currently available therapies. At
Main Line Health we want you to understand the warning signs of a stroke
that can help you save a life.
Know the Signs of Stroke and Act in Time
Watch for these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else is
having a stroke. There can be a range of symptoms from barely noticeable
difficulties moving and speaking to paralysis. Do not wait for the
symptoms to worsen or improve. If you think you are having a
stroke—or if someone you know is having stroke—call 911 immediately.
Sudden paralysis, numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg,
usually on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, swallowing or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or
Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of
a stroke, even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear. Think “FAST” and
do the following:
Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of
the face droop?
Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does
one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to raise up?
Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple
phrase. Is her or her speech slurred or strange?
Time. If you observe any of these signs, call
911 immediately. Time lost is brain lost.
Don’t Ignore the Signs and Symptoms of a Warning Stroke or “Mini Stroke”
Many people ignore stroke symptoms when they disappear quickly during a
“mini stroke” because a
TIA or “mini stroke” does not leave any permanent damage. Typically, a
“mini stroke” lasts for about one to five minutes, with symptoms that
are the same as those of a full-blown stroke. The only difference
between a TIA “mini stroke” and a full-blown stroke is that with the TIA
the blockage is temporary:
At least 40 percent of the people who have a “mini stroke” will
have a full-blown stroke within 90 days to a year.
Nearly half of all full-blown strokes occur within the first few
days of a TIA “mini stroke”.
The goal of TIA management is to prevent a
future stroke. Your medical team can identify your medical and
lifestyle risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol,
diabetes, overweight and obesity, heart and vascular disease and create
a stroke prevention plan.
What is a Stroke?
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the
brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and
nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When
that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it
needs, so that part of the brain and brain cells die.
Time is Brain for Ischemic Strokes Caused by a Clot
For strokes caused by a clot, ischemic strokes, there is only a three
hour window of opportunity to administer tPA, tissue plasminogen
activator, the medication that functions as a “clot buster”, breaking up
the clot that is disrupting blood flow to the brain. If tPA is effective
in dissolving the blood clot, no minimally-invasive neurointerventional
procedure is required. If the tPA does not work, you may need a procedure
to remove the blood clot.
Strokes Caused by Bleeding
Hemorrhagic strokes are not as common as strokes caused by a blood clot,
but cause death more often than ischemic strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke
occurs when a weakened blood vessel, either an aneurysm
or an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), ruptures and bleeds into the
brain. The leaked blood puts too much pressure on brain cells, which
damages them. Hemorrhagic strokes that are caused by bleeding cannot be
treated with tPA because it causes even more bleeding. Instead, they are
treated with other
neurointerventional procedures such as coiling.
Stroke Rehabilitation Services
Many stroke patients require rehabilitation after receiving acute stroke
care. The most rapid improvement in stroke recovery usually occurs in
the first few months after the stroke and the stroke treatment and
therapy plans we develop help patients immediately build upon their
strengths and learn to compensate for any limitations.
Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital
excels in complex stroke treatment and we care for more than 600 stroke
patients each year, using traditional and non-traditional modalities to
support our stroke patients in their recovery.
Why Main Line Health for Stroke Care?
Our Four Primary Stroke Centers Have Achieved the Gold Standard
Main Line Health treats more than 3,000 stroke patients each year at our
four acute care hospitals and Main Line Health Stroke Centers have met
stringent quality standards for stroke treatment set by the Joint
Commission as well as those of the American Heart Association.
We are Pioneers in Stroke Treatment and Surgery
At Main Line Health our advanced neurodiagnostic imaging procedures
determine the precise location of the clot or bleed in your brain,
allowing us to perform immediate therapies to stabilize vital functions,
manage intracranial and blood pressures and administer intravenous
and intra-arterial clot-busting t-PA medication for ischemic stroke
if your stroke has happened within the three-hour window for tPA. For
strokes whose onset has been longer than three hours, if the tPA has not
been effective and the clot requires removal or if you have experienced
a hemorrhagic stroke (bleed type), brain aneurysm or AVM that needs
repair Main Line Health offers an endovascular surgical procedure and
our neurosurgical care lab has the expertise to perform various
procedures including angioplasty,
stenting and other surgery to correct the causes of clots and
We are members of the Jefferson Hospital Neuroscience Network
When every second counts in treating stroke, you reduce the possibility
of disability with faster intervention from less travel time to
emergency medical care without sacrificing expertise. The
Neurointerventional Care Lab, located at Bryn Mawr Hospital, is the only
one of its kind in the western Philadelphia suburbs. It is staffed by
Jefferson neurosurgeons 24/7 who perform complex and minimally invasive
neurovascular procedures and life-saving stroke services including Intra
Arterial tPA, Endovascular coiling for hemorrhagic stroke, Angioplasty
and stenting, and Merci Retrieval clot removal close to home.
Main Line Health Offers Stroke Care at the Following Locations
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.