Stroke Education and Treatment

When it comes to stroke, studies have shown a significant improvement in outcomes when best practice protocols are applied. Surviving a stroke not only means seeking immediate medical attention at the first sign of symptoms, but also receiving treatment at a medical center experienced in acute stroke management.

Ranked among the top five percent in the nation for stroke treatment, Hoag Hospital provides comprehensive services for the evaluation, prevention, treatment and ongoing care of stroke patients.

What is Stroke?

To understand a stroke, think of it as a heart attack that happens in the brain. A stroke (or brain attack) is a potentially fatal condition that occurs when a blood clot, or ruptured blood vessel, interferes with blood flow to the brain. When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die.

Every 45 seconds, someone in America has a stroke. It is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in adults. Depending on the type, extent and location of the damage – as well as how quickly emergency care is given – a stroke can result in death or may permanently impair a person's ability to move, speak, think, remember, respond normally or live independently.

Warning Signs of Stroke

  • Sudden change in vision – blurred or loss of vision
  • Sudden confusion or difficulty of speech – slurred or sluggish, loss of words or difficulty understanding words
  • Sudden weakness – loss of strength in face, hand, arm and/or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden loss of balance or dizziness – difficulty walking or clumsiness
  • Sudden change in sensation – heaviness, numbness or unusual sensation in face, hand, arm and/or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden severe headache, unexplained, often described as the worst headache ever

Even if the symptoms only last a few minutes, it could be a mini-stroke, which is called a TIA (transient ischemic attack). TIA is also a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. An unrecognized and untreated TIA may be followed by a major disabling stroke. Therefore, if any of the above symptoms occur, it is critical to seek immediate emergency treatment.

Another quick way to identify a stroke is to follow the Act F.A.S.T. signs:

Face – Facial droop; uneven smile

Arm – Arm numbness/weakness

Speech – Slurred speech; difficulty speaking or understanding

Time – Call 911 immediately

Video: Dr. David Brown Discusses Hoag's Stroke Program on Healthy OC
Dr. David Brown Discusses Hoag's Stroke Program on Healthy OC
Dr Michael Brant Zawadzki and Dr David Brown Discuss Stroke Treatment using the Penumbra device
The FDA-approved Penumbra device