Recently, Nasser Razack M.D., J.D., neurointerventional surgeon and author of Stroke Made Simple, spoke to a full room at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte about acute ischemic stroke intervention (AIS). In attendance were members of administration, physicians, Desoto County Fire/EMS personnel, and more than thirty staff members who directly participate in acute ischemic stroke management.

Over the course of an hour, Dr. Razack discussed acute stroke intervention, its diagnosis and treatment, imaging studies and neurointervention. He focused on the significance of a hospital-based team approach for the management of acute ischemic stroke. While the treatment of all stroke is important, he stressed the recognition and treatment of large vessel acute ischemic stroke. This form of stroke results from the occlusion of large vessels in the brain which when left untreated may cause life threatening or severely debilitating stroke. During his presentation, he demonstrated that acute ischemic stroke large vessel occlusion can be quickly diagnosed and treated. Further, he not only emphasized the importance of having an efficient hospital-based process but stressed the equally important necessity of having a synchronous process with EMS personnel.

“Large vessel occlusion acute ischemic stroke makes up about 10 percent of all acute ischemic stroke but accounts for all acute ischemic stroke death, 90 percent of acute ischemic stroke societal cost and 80 percent poor functional outcome,” says Nasser Razack, M.D., J.D. “This is the most devastating form of acute ischemic stroke and the ability to treat it endovascularly will greatly serve our community. The practice of medicine continues to evolve but the treatment of acute ischemic stroke is probably the most rapidly developing modality within any field of medicine. A few short years ago, large vessel occlusion acute ischemic stroke was deemed non-treatable. Recent scientific trials have demonstrated the clear benefit of treating this horrible disease. We must be cognizant of the signs and symptoms of this disease so it can be rapidly diagnosed and treated.”

Dr. Razack also stressed the importance of time in acute stroke diagnosis and treatment. He discussed that many patients are not aware of the common signs and symptoms of stroke and simply do not get to the hospital soon enough to be treated. A simple mnemonic for the signs and symptoms of stroke is: “BE FAST.”

BE FAST stands for:

· B, Balance. Sudden loss of balance?

· E, Eyes. Loss of vision in one or both eyes?

· F, Face. Face looks uneven?

· A, Arm. Arm or leg weak, hanging down?

· S, Speech. Speech slurred? Trouble speaking or confused?

· T, Terrible headache. Thunder clap headache? Worst headache of your life?

If you or someone you know may be suffering from a stroke, dial 911 and get to the closest hospital immediately. Bayfront Health Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda have both achieved the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission as Primary Stroke Centers.

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