A stroke is a life-threatening condition. It can be life-changing for both the patient and their loved ones. A stroke deprives the brain of the blood and oxygen it needs – which results in the loss of brain cells and consequentially, function. However, the extent of brain damage can be reduced with timely and effective treatment. If you believe you or a loved one may be having a stroke, seek emergency care right away. Each of HCA Midwest Health’s hospitals in the Kansas City region has been recognized for excellence in stroke care. That means that no matter where you are in the area, you are always close to quality and timely treatment.
Signs of a Stroke
If you or someone you love shows any of these symptoms call 911 immediately. While a stroke usually happens suddenly, it can also occur over several hours. Several small strokes can even occur over time. As the stroke becomes more serious, symptoms can intensify.
1. Facial drooping
2. Blurred vision or trouble seeing
3. Difficulty speaking, confusion or trouble understanding speech
4. Sudden and severe headache
5. Fainting or seizures (less common)
6. Arm weakness
7. Sudden nausea or vomiting
8. Numbness on one side of the body
9. Difficulty walking or loss of balance
Steps for Fast Emergency Stroke Treatment
The most important factor in effective stroke treatment is time – how fast doctors can begin treatment. Unfortunately, many people take too long to seek treatment.
Know the Signs
As soon as stroke-like symptoms begin, don’t delay. It’s best to leave diagnosis to medical professionals with the proper education, experience and tools.
Calling 911 instead of driving yourself can save precious minutes. Ambulances don’t get stuck in traffic. And EMS teams can begin to get your medical history and start assessment. They can also alert the stroke team at the hospital. That way when you get to the hospital you are already steps ahead.
Seek Quality Care Close to You
We offer the largest network of stroke-designated hospitals in KC. No matter where you live, work or play, we aren’t far.
Primary Stroke Centers
Our network includes seven hospitals including five Certified Primary Stroke Centers, as designated by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Our Primary Stroke Centers have specialized resources including expert neurologists, neuroradiologists, and neurosurgeons, and are committed to best practices that deliver the highest quality care you and your loved ones deserve.
Time Critical Diagnosis Centers
Our network includes five hospitals in Missouri that are state designated as Time Critical Diagnosis centers for stroke. This means specialty-trained medical professionals are available 24-hours a day to quickly treat a stroke emergency.
We offer a telemedicine program that provides stroke patients throughout our rural communities with 24-hour access to experts and specialized services. An advanced videoconferencing system allows our stroke specialists to be "in the room" with patients and their doctors to evaluate and consult on diagnosis, treatment or appropriate transfer. That way patients can stay close to home and their families and only transfer when more specialized care is needed.
Ischemic Stroke Treatment
An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked or narrowed artery that results in a lack of blood flow to the brain. About 87% of strokes are ischemic. The most effective treatment for an ischemic stroke is tPA, a clot-busting drug. It must be given within 3 to 4.5 hours of the start of symptoms. Unfortunately, due to certain medical conditions, some people are not candidates for this amazing drug. Before the time window is closed, doctors first must evaluate a patient’s medical history and perform a CT scan before the drug can be administered – more reasons to seek emergency care fast for a stroke.
Recovering from a Stroke in Kansas City
With the right support system, professional assistance and a positive attitude, many survivors make significant strides towards independence and regaining quality of life. Our stroke rehabilitation specialists can work with you or your loved one to help recover lost function.