How Medical Professionals Handle a 'Stroke Alert'

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - The words, "Stroke Alert," signals an entire team of medical professionals to focus on a single patient whose showing stroke symptoms. 
The team immediately rushes the patient to CT to get a cat scan of her brain. 
"Which tells us what kind of stroke is it," said Dr. Muhammad Zaman-Khan. "Is it a hemorrhagic stroke or is it a bleed? Or is it ischemic stroke,where clogged or vessel gets clogged off?"
This determination then allows doctors to see how to proceed with treatment and if they can give the patient a clot-busting drug called TPA, which helps quickly dissolve a brain clot.
"Once we dissolve the clot, blood circulation then resumes into the brain and we can save a lot of brain tissue," said Dr. Zaman-Khan.
It depends on the patient, but Dr. Zaman-Khan says sometimes patients' symptoms start disappearing within minutes of receiving the TPA. He said timing of the drug plays a huge part in it's effectiveness.
"The quicker we do, the better it is," said Dr. Zaman-Khan. "If it's given in a half an hour, it's better than 2 hours, but that's better than 3 hours."
In a mock stroke alert on Tuesday at Bay Medical Sacred Heart, the patient was having an Ischemic stroke and TPA was administered. The patient also displayed typical signs of stroke, like slurred speech, facial drooping and weakness in one side. 
However, Dr. Zaman-Khan says not all strokes are the same. Some people experience dizziness or problems with balance and symptoms can also come and go.
"The unfortunate part is a lot of folks decide to stay home and think the symptoms are going to resolve."

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