The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and its faculty group practice, UC Physicians, support all emergency departments in the tri-state region to tackle stroke care, one of the most critical medical emergencies a patient can experience. The UC Stroke Team is an interdisciplinary group of doctors who care for patients arriving with stroke symptoms at UC Medical Center, and other regional hospitals. When a patient arrives to the emergency department with stroke symptoms, such as sudden weakness of one of side of the body or difficulty understanding or producing speech, they undergo a routine CT scan of the brain. If a stroke is suspected, a series of emergency procedures are put into place that can prevent the progression of symptoms and even reverse them. Each physician brings the most cutting edge treatments to the patient’s care.
The UC Stroke Team, which includes medical, surgical, and interventional neurovascular program specialists, offers a comprehensive approach to treating, preventing, and aiding in recovery from stroke. There are a variety of stroke types. Some are caused by a blocked artery, such as transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke. Others are caused by a ruptured artery, such as intracerebral hemorrhage from high blood pressure or an arteriovenous malformation, or subarachnoid hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm.
Beyond treating patients, the doctors conduct research to design new ways to treat and prevent strokes. UC’s long history of expertise in stroke care and research dates back to the 1980s when the UC Stroke Team led the first clinical trials resulting in the approval of intravenous thrombolysis (tPA and now tNK), which is still considered the gold standard stroke treatment.
Today, UC is the national coordinating center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) StrokeNet, which is the primary infrastructure supporting all stroke trials funded by NIH. StrokeNet consists of 24 regional coordinating centers and more than 500 affiliated hospitals across the United States. Faculty physicians at UC design and lead many of these trials, and bring nearly all major stroke trials to the Cincinnati region. UC Stroke Team members Pooja Khatri, M.D., M.Sc.; and Joseph Broderick, M.D., both professors in the UC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, serve as the co-directors of NIH StrokeNet.
Stroke treatment and care hits home for Khatri. In 2006, her father suffered a large, misdiagnosed stroke at a small hospital in Chicago. Her dad survived, but was disabled from the stroke. Khatri believes her father, if he was in Cincinnati, would have probably been diagnosed quickly enough to be treated with Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), an emergency clot buster, and he would have had access to clinical trials led by her and her colleagues at the time.
UC Physicians is a leader in stroke research and care
UC Physicians, which includes more than 900 doctors who teach and conduct research at the College of Medicine and nearly 500 advanced practice providers, provide stroke patients in the region access to the latest stroke treatments and preventive strategies currently available. The stroke experts at UC have a long tradition of quickly incorporating what is learned in clinical research into standard stroke care. The UC Stroke Team is one of the first multidisciplinary stroke teams with neurologists, emergency physicians, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, nurses, and allied health specialists. This multidisciplinary approach, with truly outstanding individuals collaborating from all of these areas, has made the UC Stroke Team one of the best in the world.
How to detect a stroke
According to the American Stroke Association, the acronym F.A.S.T. is the easiest way to evaluate the four most common symptoms of a stroke. A stroke is always an emergency. If you or someone you’re around experiences the following, call 911 and seek emergency care:
- Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness: Is one arm (or leg) weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred? Is he or she unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, it is time to call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately
Other symptoms include sudden onset of:
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause