Piedmont Healthcare: When treating strokes, every minute counts

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From Special Reports

In addition to receiving a 13th consecutive A grade by Leapfrog for its performance on hospital quality metrics, Piedmont Newnan Hospital has also been repeatedly recognized by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

That recognition has been part of AHA’s and ASA’s Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement and Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus for quality stroke and cardiac care.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month and while Piedmont Newnan can provide excellent care for patients suffering from a stroke or heart attack, the biggest factor in creating positive outcomes is for a person to act quickly at the first signs of symptoms and/or awareness.

 “Time means everything when it comes to a patient’s potential recovery from a stroke or other cardiac event,” said Robin Baker, RN, BSN,SCRN, CEN, Stroke Program Manager at Piedmont Newnan. “If you are experiencing any symptoms of a stroke or other cardiac event, call 9-1-1 or head to your nearest emergency room. Your outcomes are far worse from a heart attack or stroke if you delay or do not come to the hospital.”

A stroke is when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted due to a blockage or a ruptured blood vessel. When this happens, the brain doesn’t receive oxygen and glucose that is required to prevent brain cells from dying.

The key to optimal recovery of a stroke and decreasing disability is to B.E.F.A.S.T.:

  • Balance – sudden dizziness or loss of balance
  • Eyes – sudden vision loss or double vision
  • Face – look for an uneven smile
  • Arm – check if one arm or leg is weak
  • Speech – listen for slurred speech or difficulty speaking
  • Time – call 911 right away

Other signs of a stroke are what is known as “The Suddens,” which include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body, sudden confusion or trouble understanding, sudden trouble walking, and/or a sudden severe headache with no known cause.

“The faster a stroke is recognized and treatment is provided to restore blood flow to the brain the greater chance disability will be reduced. Every minute nearly 2 million brain cells can die. Recognizing the symptoms and calling 911 immediately are the first steps to improving outcomes,” said Baker. “B.E.F.A.S.T. to spot a stroke.”

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