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A Guide to Telestroke and How It Can Save Lives

If you suspect someone might be having a stroke, getting the victim professional medical care quickly is vital. It’s a common and serious condition.

Each year 795,000 people have a stroke. It claims the lives of 140,000 Americans. One out of every 20 deaths in America is caused by a stroke.


Stroke Symptoms

How can you tell if someone is having a stroke? You’ll notice symptoms appear suddenly. Use the phrase BEFAST to remember stroke symptoms:

  • B = Balance — A sudden loss of balance or coordination.
  • E = Eyes — Blurred vision, double vision or sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
  • F = Face — One side of the face sags or droops. There may be difficulty smiling.
  • A = Arms — Difficulty raising both arms. One arm may drift downward.
  • S = Speech — May be slurred or strange-sounding. The victim may struggle to repeat a single sentence.
  • T = Terrible Headache—Sudden onset of a terrible headache.

If you notice any of these signs, quickly call 9-1-1. Get the victim to the nearest hospital immediately. If you know the location of a nearby primary stroke center, that’s an ideal place to go. Find out now which hospitals are near you and what conditions they’re best equipped to treat.


BEFAST Updated


Extending the Reach of Elite Stroke Treatment Care

Getting the stroke victim to the hospital is an essential first step in treatment. If you live in a community without around-the-clock access to stroke care providers, immediate care may be provided using a technology called telestroke.


What Is Telestroke?

Telestroke uses state-of-the-art telemedicine technology — special cameras and microphones — to facilitate communication between two locations. Telestroke allows stroke experts such as neurologists at one hospital to examine patients at another hospital miles away. The stroke expert works with local health care professionals to diagnose conditions and develop care plans.

An example of telestroke in our area is the Aurora BayCare Telestroke Program. The stroke experts at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay collaborate with providers at Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh, Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc and Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette to provide professional care to patients in all the hospitals.


Telestroke’s Advantages

With telestroke, patients can have a consultation with a qualified stroke specialist anytime, day or night. The program offers several benefits:

  • Connects patients with treatment recommendations from a team of experts
  • Lowers healthcare costs
  • Provides 24/7/365 bedside access to stroke experts at more facilities
  • Allows treatments such as clot-busting drugs to be administered sooner
  • Reduces the risk for stroke-related disability
  • Reduces the need for patients to transfer to another facility
  • Allows ongoing professional treatment at the patient’s local hospital

The American Heart Association recommends using telemedicine within stroke care protocols. Telestroke extends quality stroke care to communities where qualified health care professionals aren’t always available


Risks for Stroke

Ask your doctor about your risks for stroke and how you can reduce those risks. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and having diabetes can all increase your stroke risks. Visit with your health care professional about your stroke risks.

Need a doctor? The time to look for a health care professional is before you need one. To find a qualified physician that meets your needs, check online right now! 

Aurora Health Care offers stroke care services at our facilities in Cudahy, Grafton, Green Bay, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Summit, Two Rivers and West Allis. Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit health care provider.

Meet the Author

M Ziad Darkhabani, MD is a stroke and interventional neurologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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