Spot a Stroke, Highlands Cashiers Hospital

Dr. James Wright 

Neurologists and radiologists released a new approach to stroke diagnosis/treatment at a conference early this year. 

Dr. James Wright, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at Transylvania Regional Hospital/Highlands-Cashiers Hospital says, “If a stroke is suspected, there’s no time to waste.  We used to have a four-to-six hour window for intervention.  Now, thanks to new technologies that isolate problems quickly, doctors can get into blocked arteries and clear them, extending that window of action to 24 hours.”

F.A.S.T. is the acronym to remember if you suspect you or someone you know is having a stroke.  Check the patient’s Face.  Is one side of it sagging?  Have the patient raise his/her Arms.  Is one of them dangling lower than the other?  Engage the patient in conversation.  Is his/her Speech slurred or making no sense?  If any or all these symptoms are evident, Time is of the essence.  Dial 911 … and do it FAST!

About half of strokes are caused by blockage of blood to the brain.  A buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) can rupture in arteries and cause inflammation and clotting.  Platelets aggregate around the site, and the blood supply is dammed up, so to speak.  Without a blood supply, brain cells begin to die.

Dr. Wright emphasizes that all doctors, nurses, and ERs are on the same page.  The language and procedure is exactly the same whether you are in Highlands-Cashiers, Asheville, Franklin, or Brevard.  

Mission can quickly diagnose the progression of a stroke.  Through telemedicine they can instantly connect with Asheville’s stroke unit where doctors and state-of-the-art equipment can interact and communicate data in seconds, saving valuable time and lives.  They even have a robot that can collect vitals and send volumes of data to all members of the emergency team. 

Since time is at a premium, don’t be embarrassed to dial 911 if you have even a remotely related symptom.  Better safe than sorry.

To learn more about your health and remarkable advances in stroke intervention, call (828) 526-1200.