Rapid response critical for stroke victims as brain cells die

Local News

Dr. Deepak Gulati, Medical Director, Telestroke

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke, and every four minutes someone dies from stroke.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Telestroke Network can get a stroke expert in front of a patient in minutes, setting them up with a life-saving medicine or procedure.

Dr. Deepak Gulati, the Medical Director of Telestroke, says the virtual-doctor program began 10 years ago with a grant from the Ohio Department of Health and served two to three locations. But it quickly expanded to 27 sites, helping people in rural areas.

“Without this expertise, it’s not possible for patients to get to a center quickly where they can get the treatment,” Gulati said. This could be clot-dissolving medication, or a catheter into the arm or groin that snakes up to the brain and sucks out the clot.

“In five minutes we beam in, examine the patient, and provide the life-saving treatment,” Gulati said. One in three patients who get treated this way gets better.

More than 15,000 video consultations have been provided through Ohio State’s Telestroke Network, with about 2,000 treated for thrombosis.

Symptoms of stroke may include a sudden severe headache with no known cause, trouble walking or dizziness. Other symptoms can be easily remembered with the acronym BE FAST:

  • Balance: sudden loss of balance or coordination
  • Eyes: Loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Facial droop or uneven smile
  • Arm numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech – difficulty understanding or listening
  • Time – call 911 and get to a hospital immediately.

Patient outcomes improve with early action in treatment and restoring blood flow. Therefore, it’s critical that treatment start as soon as possible. For every minute delay in medical treatment, the brain loses two million neurons, Gulati said.

If you think you or another person is having stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately.

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