With a stroke, if a patient receives care within four and a half hours since they were seen acting with atypical behavior, a clot busting drug can be delivered intravenously.
For more severe strokes, patients may be eligible for a thrombectomy in the first 24 hours after the stroke. During the thrombectomy, catheters enter the small artery in the upper leg to the brain to identify and remove a clot.
Identifying the signs of a stroke and contacting emergency medical teams quickly is important. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, B.E. F.A.S.T.
- BALANCE - Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?
- EYES - Is the person suddenly having trouble seeing out of one or both eyes?
- FACE - Ask the person to smile. Is one side of the face drooping or numb?
- ARMS - Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weak or numb?
- SPEECH - Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is speech slurred?
- TERRIBLE HEADACHE - Is the person experiencing the worst headache of their life?
One type of brain bleed is a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH) that is caused by an aneurysm. This is the type of brain bleed Nancy Adams experienced.
“I remember it was the late afternoon and I didn’t feel good. I was with my daughter decorating for a birthday, and one of my ears was muffled. I felt off,” said Adams. “I went to lie down, then felt neck pain a few minutes later.”
Nancy thought that she might have been having a stroke and tested herself by walking the length of her room. “I couldn’t do it without holding onto something. Then I couldn’t lift my legs to get on the bed and had to sit on the floor. My daughter called an ambulance. The neck pain became extreme and the headache was absolutely horrifying.”
Adams remembers the trip to the hospital and having a CT, but didn’t fully regain consciousness until weeks later. Her physician, Amrendra Miranpuri, MD, with the Carle Neurosciences Institute, discovered additional aneurysms, one of which was hemorrhaging.
“After she recovered from the ruptured aneurysm we followed her in clinic for the other two aneurysms,” said Dr. Miranpuri. “She was not keen on having open brain surgery to place a clip on the aneurysm. We more recently began using the WEB device and she was interested in this minimally invasive procedure.”
Adams’ aneurysm was treated with the WEB device, a single implant about the size of an eraser head. The spherical stent blocks the flow of blood into the aneurysm to heal an aneurysm from the inside.
Dr. Miranpuri also notes that endovascular procedures including the coiling and WEB device to repair brain aneurysms are becoming more popular over the last two decades. “Before, it used to be treated primarily with open surgery. Like thrombectomy, it involves catheters advanced from a small artery in the upper leg to the brain using x-ray and dye to see the aneurysm.”
“I’m 53 and I’ve never noticed them [aneurysms],” said Adams. “I wouldn’t have noticed them if they didn’t rupture, but now I feel just like I did before the rupture.” Adams has also made lifestyle changes to lower her blood pressure to avoid any more ruptures.
When the brain is impacted, the rehabilitation process varies based on the severity of the condition and the progress of the patient while they recover. “Patients like the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, shorter hospital stay and lower risk,” said Dr. Miranpuri.
“It’s something so amazing that can be done for you without going through a scary process. This has really worked for me,” said Adams. “I’m really glad Dr. Miranpuri had the chance to do it because he’s really great.”
Reacting quickly is the best way to help increase a person’s recovery from a stroke or aneurysm. Test your own stroke knowledge with this online quiz.
For more information about stroke an aneurysm, visit Carle.org.
Categories: Staying Healthy