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Wake Up Stroke: Now What Do You Do? Part 2

Posted May 13 2011 8:26pm
Remember yesterday's post regarding wake up strokes?  One of the major issues is the inability to determine how much time has elapsed since the start of the event (obviously because it happened while one was asleep).  Without any way to determine elapsed time, emergency department & stroke center physicians are unwilling to take the chance to offer this specific subset of patients thrombolytic therapy (clot busting drugs) out of fear for turning an ischemic event into a hemorrhagic one.  As a result, as noted in a study published online last week , the authors concluded that those patients who suffered a stroke while asleep had worse outcomes.

But here's the rub:  you need to get to the emergency department to get evaluated.  Don't be like the majority of stroke victims in a recent survey published last week who called a friend or family member rather than 911 when they noted FAST symptoms.  Why?  Perhaps they hoped the symptoms would resolve on their own or they thought the symptoms were not a big deal.  But if you ask me, sudden onset of facial asymmetry, lost of arm or leg function, and/or dysarthria would be a dramatic concern.  Maybe that's because I'm a family physician.  But any, even one, FAST symptom should raise an alarm in you to call 911 immediately.

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