Teaching people to recognize the symptoms of stroke -- and act on them quickly -- is one of Doylestown Hospital's most important initiatives.
If detected early, the most common form of stroke can be treated with a clot-busting drug called Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), known to reduce the risk of long-term disability and improve the likelihood of a full recovery.
"We now know that certain treatments, if administered in the first three hours after symptoms appear, can interrupt an ischemic stroke," explains Theophila C. Semanoff, MD, Medical Director of the Stroke Resource Center.
Dr. Semanoff urges patients to immediately call 911 instead of waiting out their symptoms. "If you are having any warning signs, however insignificant they may seem, do not wait for them to subside, do not call your family physician, do not check the Internet. Pick up the phone and call 911. The quicker you get to the hospital, the more treatment options you will have, and the better chance of a full recovery."
The initial call sets off a chain of potentially life-saving events. At Doylestown Hospital, patients are evaluated in the Emergency Department by an acute stroke team that includes stroke educated ER physicians and ER nurses. If eligible and seen within the three-hour window, patients receive the clot-busting drug known as tPA. Other treatment options are recommended to those not eligible for tPA.