Stroke Treatment Program
The same clot-busting drugs used to treat heart attacks are now available at Baptist Health Lexington for the treatment of brain attacks or strokes.
Baptist Health Lexington's emergency department offers a comprehensive treatment plan for the early symptoms of stroke. Until recently, little could be done from an emergency perspective to treat acute stroke. Now, however, the widely used TPA clot-dissolving agent for heart attack is available to treat adults suffering from stroke within the first four and one-half hours after symptoms begin. Other new treatment options are also available for adult stroke patients.
Understanding TPA Therapy
About 80 percent of all strokes are caused by blood clots that cut off oxygen-rich blood to part of the brain. When brain cells are deprived of oxygen, the cells are damaged, impairing the ability to speak, move or remember. TPA works to dissolve blood clots and allow blood to flow freely again.
To be effective, TPA therapy must be administered within four and one-half hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. Patients must get to the hospital in enough time for a complete evaluation, including a CT scan to determine if the stroke was caused by a blood clot.
Not every patient who has a stroke is eligible for the clot-dissolving therapy. Those whose strokes are caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, rather than a blood clot, are not eligible. In addition, patients with evidence of recent or active bleeding, recent stroke, uncontrolled high blood pressure or clotting problems are not candidates for TPA. For those people who are eligible, results of TPA therapy can be remarkable.
Recognizing Stroke Symptoms
Stroke symptoms can include:
- sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body;
- loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding speech;
- unsteadiness or sudden falls; and/or
- sudden severe or unexplained headache.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.