Tonawanda News

Features

May 28, 2013

Doctors suggest using ambulance when stroke symptoms arise

Tonawanda News — A study released this month in honor of American Stroke Month shows more than one third of stroke patients don’t use an ambulance to get to the hospital, a trend Dr. Raquel Martin, the medical director of the Kenmore Mercy Hospital emergency department, said she found concerning.

When it comes to treat stroke, time is crucial, Martin said depending on the severity of the stroke, treatment should occur between three and six hours after it occurs. The longer it takes, the more permanent damage is done to the brain.

“Time is brain,” she said.

A study published April 30 in American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes determined 61 percent of people transported by ambulance got to the hospital within three hours of the first symptoms of a stroke, compared to 40 percent who didn’t use EMS.

“EMS are able to give the hospital a heads up, and that grabs the attention of the emergency room staff to be ready to act as soon as the patient arrives,” said Jeffrey L. Saver, M.D., senior author of the study and director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “The ambulance crew also knows which hospitals in the area have qualified stroke centers. Patients don’t lose time going to one hospital only to be referred to another that can provide more advanced care if needed, whether that’s drugs to bust up the clot or device procedures to remove it.”

The New York state Department of Health designated stroke centers in Erie and Niagara counties include Erie County Medical Center, Global Vascular Institute, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Sisters of Charity Hospital, Mount St. Marys Hospital and Healthcare, and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, according to the department’s website.

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