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Published on April 26, 2012

Why Go to a Certified Primary Stroke Center? Because Every Second Counts

In Brief:

  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. It affects more than 700,000 Americans.
  • Because of the short time frame for treatment of stroke, it’s important that you go directly to a hospital that is equipped with a stroke programs that can improve your odds of enjoying a second chance at life.
  • Three Crozer-Keystone hospitals — Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Taylor Hospital — have been named Certified Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission.

Imagine feeling dizziness and nausea so severe that it causes you to collapse. Imagine feeling numbness and weakness down one side of your face, arm or leg, or feeling confused without the power to speak or comprehend things.

This is what it feels like when the symptoms of stroke take over. When these symptoms take over, fast action is the key to your saving your life.    

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects more than 700,000 Americans. It’s important for everyone, at every age, to recognize the signs of stroke, and to know what to do and where to go if you or someone you know is suffering from stroke.

“If you feel you may be having a stroke, it’s critical to act fast,” says Bradley Grayum M.D., chief of the Division of Neurology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “As soon as you experience symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, call 911 immediately. Medicine called t-PA, an agent to dissolve clots, can be effective when administered within four-and-a-half hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. The sooner treatment is given, the better.”

Because of the short time frame for treatment, it’s important that you are taken directly to a hospital that is equipped with stroke programs that can improve your odds of enjoying a second chance at life. Three Crozer-Keystone hospitals — Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Taylor Hospital — have been named certified Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission.

“As Certified Primary Stroke Centers, our hospitals have demonstrated that when it comes to treating strokes, our staff members act quickly to provide a prompt diagnosis and treatment to save lives and reduce permanent disability,” says Joseph Lubeck, D.O., chairman of the Stroke Committee at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “Stroke Centers have systems in place that ensure that all departments work together to provide the best possible care to our patients—from acute treatment to rehabilitation, and then secondary stroke prevention.”

“Some other symptoms of stroke that everyone should recognize are problems with vision such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes, problems with balance or coordination, slurring speech and problems with movement or walking,” says Gregory Cuculino, M.D., chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Taylor and DCMH. “The window of opportunity for treatment begins when symptoms begin, so patients need to recognize what is happening so that they can seek care, be evaluated and receive treatment within that period.”

It is important to consult your physician so that you can work together to avoid stroke risk factors and to learn more about the symptoms. Regular visits to your family physician are recommended.

To learn more about stroke and the services offered by Crozer-Keystone Health System’s certified Primary Stroke Centers, visit http://stroke.crozerkeystone.org.

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