It’s estimated that every 45 seconds someone in the U.S. will suffer a stroke. What many people may not understand is that there are different types of strokes, which carry different risk factors and different courses of treatment. The three types of stroke are:
- Ischemic (clots)
- Hemorrhagic (bleeding)
- TIA (transient ischemic attack)
Ischemic stroke accounts for 87% percent of all cases. It occurs when an obstruction, such as a clot, blocks a vessel or artery supplying blood to the brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 13 percent of cases. It is the result of a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the brain. The blood then accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is caused by a temporary blood clot. It is often labeled a “mini-stroke,” but according to the medical community it is more accurately characterized as a “warning stroke.”
Stroke is a medical emergency that should be treated as quickly as possible.
For ischemic stroke, treatment may include administration of the clot-busting drug known as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). tPA is given intravenously in the arm and must be administered within a three-hour window from the onset of attack. If given promptly, tPA can significantly reduce effects such as paralysis, speech and language difficulties and memory loss.
Surgical intervention and endovascular procedures are often used to treat hemorrhagic stroke. Surgery may include the placement of a metal clip at the base of a leaking blood vessel, or aneurysm, to stop the bleeding. An example of an Endovascular procedure would be the use of a catheter to deliver a metal coil into a weakened blood vessel to prevent rupture.
Patients who suffer a TIA are often prescribed preventive treatments such as aspirin and anticoagulant drugs. Balloon angioplasty and implantable screens called stents may also be used to open blood vessels that are clogged by fatty deposits (cholesterol), which can break off and lead to stroke.
There are identified risk factors for stroke that can be controlled. Among those risk factors are poor diet and high blood pressure. It is critical that a patient discusses any underlying condition with his or her physician to prevent a catastrophic outcome.
The Regional Medical Center of San Jose is proud to have received a Certificate of Distinction as a Primary Stroke Center from the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
The Center offers diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, education and outreach. Regional’s Stroke Team of doctors and nurses works to identify stroke symptoms as quickly as possible, beginning with emergency medical service workers in the field. By the time a patient arrives at the hospital, the Team strives to be ready for immediate treatment.
The Regional Medical Center of San Jose also offers a helpline for those who think they might be at risk and need emergent care. For referral to a qualified physician, please call our Consult-A-Nurse® line at 888-762-8881.