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Communication! Communication! Communication!

signs of stroke

 

There are many signs of a stroke you can watch out for. When a person is suffering from a stroke, communication with the hospital is essential.  If the EMT’s will warn the hospital that a stroke patient is en route, the hospital can be prepared when they arrive.  This small step can save so much time which can change the outcome of the stroke damage.  Truth is, EMT’s fail to do this simple yet vital step over 1/3 of the time and don’t notify the hospital when they see signs of a stroke.  Simply having the hospital ready for evaluation and treatment can change the outcome.

“Pre-notification was independently associated with better treatment times:

  • arrival-to-imaging times of 25 minutes or less,
  • arrival-to-treatment with the clot-busting drug tPA within 60 minutes,
  • symptom onset-to-tPA treatment times of 120 minutes or less,
  • and more eligible patients treated with tPA.”

This notification is especially critical if the patient is suffering from a stroke called ischemia; when a blood clot cuts off oxygen to the brain.  Clot busting medications can only be given within a 3 to 4.5 hour time frame.

National guidelines do recommend that these steps of communication are followed, but little change has been made.  If word spreads and EMT’s are knowledgeable of this vital communication step, there are significant positive results.  For example:

“Among patients arriving within two hours of symptom onset, patients with EMS pre-notification were more likely to:

  • be treated with tPA within three hours (82.8 percent vs. 79.2 percent);
  • have shorter arrival-to-imaging times (26 minutes vs. 31 minutes);
  • have shorter arrival-to-tPA treatment times (78 minutes vs. 80 minutes); and
  • have shorter symptom onset-to-tPA treatment times (141 minutes vs. 145 minutes).”

To see a map of rates to identify where communication needs to be improved go see the article referring to this problem written by the American Heart Association.
If EMT’s are aware of this problem, I believe that they will do everything possible to help their patients.  They are hero’s after all!
Have a Heart Healthy Day!
Kristi Krouse

About kristi

Kristi Krouse owns Heart Smart CPR, an American Heart Association Training Site in Austin Texas. The purpose of Heart Smart CPR is to teach individuals life-saving skills for both medical and non-medical providers in a relaxed yet concise manor. Kristi is dedicated to helping to get everyone certified by their deadline.

You can find out more about Heart Smart CPR here

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Have a Heart Healthy Day!

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