Stroke is a brain attack and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly 800,000 people annually. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Part of the brain starts to die when the blood and the oxygen is shut off. The body part, controlled by the damaged area of the brain, begins to work improperly.
For someone suffering from a stroke, fast emergency medical treatment could be the difference between life and death. Receiving emergency medical care can help limit damage to the brain and increase the chance of a full recovery.
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, it is crucial you call 9-1-1. Whether care begins at OSF Saint James – John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, Illinois, or OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Illinois, timely treatment will still take place.
At both locations, physicians will order a CT scan and consult with a neurologist to determine if blood flow in the brain has been disrupted or cut off. The physicians can also administer clot-dissolving medication to break up blockages and restore blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This medication, called rt-PA, must be given within a three hour window from the time symptoms started, and can decrease or eliminate the disabling effects of a stroke.
Not all patients are eligible for this medication, including patients with hemorrhagic stroke, a recent head surgery or trauma, previous stroke, uncontrolled high blood pressure, active internal bleeding, or impaired blood clotting. After those steps are taken at the nearest emergency department, the patient will be transferred to the nearest Primary Stroke Center.
What is a Primary Stroke Center?
OSF St. Joseph works closely with OSF Saint James to assure you or your loved one receives proper care.
In 2013, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center earned the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers for the second time. This means OSF St. Joseph is a certified stroke center, a rare distinction for hospitals providing neuroscience care.
Illinois Stroke Care System
In April 2014, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) created a stroke care system in Illinois. OSF Saint James was named an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital, and our sister hospital, OSF St. Joseph was named a Primary Stroke Center.
For more information, please contact the Neuroscience Leader at (309) 661-4904.