Stroke Treatment Units
The best option for lowering death rates
Blurred vision, temporary paralysis or numbness of the face and stuttering are warning signs of a stroke, which requires immediate medical attention and the patient should be taken to the nearest hospital in order to reduce brain damage and prevent further complications.
The medical orientation today is to work on establishing special departments in hospitals or preparing a specialized team in the emergency department to deal with stroke patients with the aim of reducing the difficulties related to stroke and preserving the patient’s life by enabling him to reach the specialized centers in a timely manner, which achieves better and faster treatments.
Hence, health professionals mainly focus on educating citizens about the risks of stroke and learn about its signs and symptoms and how to prevent it. The work of the specialized team in these units is based on caring for the patient and giving him treatment in a timely manner and without any delay, as two million brain cells die every minute until blood flow is restored. Thus, every minute is a golden minute for a patient suffering from a stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications.
The World Health Organization has put in place some steps that help prevent developing a stroke, including:
- Take regular physical activity
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid tobacco use
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Monitor your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and blood lipids
Stroke has been highlighted in recent years as well as the possibility of saving the patient if he received immediate medical care; thus, hospitals started establishing specialized and fully equipped units to care for stroke patients and deal with this critical medical condition quickly as it is an emergency different from other urgent cases. The problem is that stroke occurs suddenly without any prior warning, as it is possible that the patient is completely healthy and does not feel any sign or symptom and yet he suffers from stroke; this increases the difficulty of rapid intervention, and damage is irreversible. Adequate awareness of the patient or those around him makes early medical intervention more effective.
The Acute Stroke Unit is closer to the Intensive Care Unit that provides specialized services for people who have had a new stroke. People in charge of these units are well trained to deal with this group of patients and they are highly competent not only to deal with the medical emergency but also to act quickly with the condition because time is the gold standard for such cases.
In addition to the nursing staff specialized in the care of stroke patients, this department includes doctors, emergency specialists, interventional radiologists, neurosurgeons, physiotherapists, intensive care professionals and dietitians.
In such fully equipped departments, the medical team is able to deal with all patients’ needs such as in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. It is known that there are two types of stroke, an ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel (artery) supplying blood to an area of the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot while a hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures).
Medical intervention in such specialized departments is carried out according to treatment protocols intended for stroke patients that begins with an assessment of the condition and determination of the type of stroke so that appropriate treatment is provided to them in record time according to specific criteria required in this unit.
Among the medical services provided are emergency medical care, the provision of appropriate treatment for stroke, MR neurography and the presentation of results and their analysis by experts at the appropriate time. When the patient is transferred to the room, the specialized medical team will provide the necessary care after assessing the medical condition and determining the type of physical therapy needed.
The patient also receives interventional radiology services to assist in the treatment of stroke with high-quality images of the brain and blood vessels and to remove the clot if the patient arrives early to the emergency department.
These specialized medical departments and units, like all hospital departments, are subject to quality control where all cases are monitored to check if they are handled with necessary speed and quality in order to improve the quality of work and ensure that the working mechanism is in accordance with international protocols to deal with stroke patients while keeping pace with the latest scientific developments that help in providing the best medical practices.
The type of stroke is determined precisely to give the patient the appropriate treatment. Specialists and the nursing team treat clots for up to 4.5 hours after symptom onset and patients are carefully selected. Other conditions may require an interventional therapy for stroke by removing the clot using special devices. All patients undergo close monitoring for 72 hours for possible complications. The stroke units in hospitals and medical facilities are similar to the ICU, but are only specialized in the care of stroke conditions and feature an organized medical team, which includes a certain number of beds on which patients are placed and closely monitored for days in order to avoid the complications that often appear at a later stage, not immediately when a stroke occurs. Fear is from the complications that appear with the development of the condition several hours later. During this time, a specialized team monitors the patient’s vital functions during and after a stroke occurs. The unit allows the highly trained and competent medical and nursing team to manage cases of strokes and provide the needed healthcare for acute stroke patients.
Among the benefits of the Stroke Treatment Units is improving the level of healthcare, reducing mortality, and most importantly, reducing the time between the patient’s arrival to the hospital and starting treatment from 62 minutes to 39 minutes. Stroke Treatment Units have proven to be the effective choice for lowering death rates from acute stroke.