Driving home from dinner, you glance over at your husband, and you know something isn’t right. His right arm appears limp – paralyzed , even. His speech is slurred and his mouth is drooping. What’s happening.
The First Minute
During a stroke, a blood vessel responsible for taking oxygen and nutrients to the brain is affected in one of two ways. Hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts. The more common type is ischemic stroke, a clot blocks a blood vessel, and blood can’t get to the brain. “In ischemic strokes, the brain may continue to get some blood through back channels,” Dr. Lakhanpal says. “That may allow the tissue to survive for tens of minutes to a few hours.” But every minute that goes by, two million brain cells die. That’s why experts say that “time lost is brain lost.” It’s also why it’s important to get help right away.
The First Hour
For people who have had an ischemic stroke, a drug called IPA can be give to bust the clot. The first hour after the onset of symptoms is known as the “golden hour.” That’s when the drug has shown the most benefit, helping to restore blood flow and to prevent further cognitive and physical problems.
The First Three Hours
While getting treatment within the first hour is best, the window might be a little wider for some. “The clot-busting drug IPA is approved for use up to three hours.” Dr. Lakhanpal says, “and in some patients, it show some benefits up to 4.5 hours.” So if you think someone is having a stroke, don’t wait to see whether the symptoms go away on their own. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of long=term brain damage and death.
Gwinnett Medical Center is a nationally recognized leader in stroke care, with multiple accreditations and awards. Their comprehensive program includes having one of the best door-to-tPA times in the state, a dedicated neuroscience team and a leading acute rehabilitation program at Glancy Rehabilitation Center. To learn more, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/g/glancyrehab.