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Daughter spots signs of stroke, acts fast

While chatting amiably with his daughter, Bobby Smith suddenly couldn’t talk. His left arm wouldn’t work. He couldn’t lift his left leg. Luckily, his daughter recognized the signs of a stroke and acted fast. Her dad was rushed to one of the first five U.S. healthcare facilities designated as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center: The University of Kansas Hospital.

Quick response for better outcomes

When Smith arrived, the Acute Stroke Response Team – a highly trained team of specialists – was already waiting for him. “With stroke patients, timing is critical,” explained neurologist Jayashree Sundararajan, MD, a team member. “The earlier stroke patients come in, the better the outcome.”

Thanks to his daughter’s quick action, Smith was at the hospital within an hour of her 911 call.  A CT scan confirmed he’d suffered a major stroke caused by a blood clot on the right side of his brain.

The multidisciplinary neurosciences team – including a neuroscience intensive care nurse, a resident and neurointerventionist – began treating Smith’s condition by trying to dissolve the clot. They were unable to finish the treatment, however, because his platelet count was too low.

Taking care to the next level

“We knew Bobby had suffered a large stroke and would likely need additional treatment to break up the clot and minimize its damage to his brain,” said Michael Abraham, MD, a neuro-interventionist and neurointensivist.

Dr. Abraham is among specialists on call 24/7 at the hospital’s stroke center, ready when stroke patients need additional, more aggressive treatment. He successfully removed the clot using a Trevo stent – an advanced option for patients who can’t receive conventional treatment for stroke.

“Bobby came into the hospital paralyzed,” said his wife, Doris. “Five days later, he walked out on his own. From the doctors who explained everything to me to the nurses who were so generous, caring and helpful, our experience at The University of Kansas Hospital was just beautiful.”

Strokes: Majority are preventable

About every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Stroke hospitalizes nearly 1 million Americans annually. It is the fourth leading cause of death. Yet studies show about 80 percent of strokes could be prevented. A healthcare provider can work with you to help control risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heartbeat), obesity and diabetes.

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, which is a good time to learn how to recognize the signs that someone may be having a stroke with the simple Act FAST test. You could save a life.

Learn more about care at The University of Kansas Hospital’s Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center. Or call 913-588-1227.