Recognizing the signs of a stroke and getting medical care quickly are essential because the longer a stroke goes untreated, the more potential for brain damage and disability. The Stroke Center at Chilton Medical Center, designated a Primary Stroke Center by both the State of New Jersey Department of Health and The Joint Commission, provides stroke care that is close to home for many in the community.
Physicians use the telestroke robot, the first FDA-cleared remote robot, to help diagnose stroke patients more quickly. With this robotically controlled camera and monitor system, neurologists can remotely see and communicate with the patient. “When somebody comes into the emergency room with stroke-like symptoms, the telestroke robot connects them with a stroke specialist at Overlook Medical Center,” says Fiona Ahern, RN, stroke coordinator. “At Chilton, our team has specialized training in stroke care. So our patients will receive the most up-to-date neurological care from stroke specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
According to the American Stroke Association, a stroke occurs when a clot blocks a vessel supplying blood to the brain. Called an ischemic stroke, it is the most common type, accounting for 87 percent of all strokes. Timely administration of a drug called tPA can dissolve the clot, improving blood flow to the brain.
“Timing is everything,” says Ahern. “Some people wait days before coming in. They think if their gait is unsteady that they’re dehydrated. Dehydration does not cause any of that.”
Ahern says symptoms are the FAST acronym: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 911. “We use the NIH Stroke Scale tool to assess symptoms, which includes evaluating the level of consciousness, whether you have a gaze, muscle weakness, facial weakness, slurred speech, and whether you have tingling or numbness in the arms or legs.”
Learn more about The Joint Commission-accredited stroke program at Chilton Medical Center; in a medical emergency, please call 911.