OSF St. Mary Medical Center

Galesburg, Illinois

Stroke Services

Stroke is a Brain Attack

Learn the Warning Signs of Stroke:

  • One-sided weakness, numbness or paralysis.
  • Blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes.
  • Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden severe or unexplained headache.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Inability to grasp or hold objects

INI Stroke Network

INI Stroke Network (Logo) The Illinois Neurological Institute (INI) Stroke Network was established to provide expertise in diagnosing and successfully intervening and treating strokes.

More importantly, the Network puts you within minutes of a stroke specialist. If you or a loved one experience the warning signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Our medical center is part of the INI Stroke Network, offering you access to a comprehensive stroke education, treatment and rehabilitation facility.

The INI Stroke Network is composed of 18 medical facilities in Central Illinois that take part in research and treatment methods aimed at improving the recovery of stroke victims.

Hope for Stroke Care - A Matter of Time

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 500,000 people annually.

Costs associated with stroke exceed $30 billion a year in the United States. Stroke is a syndrome caused by a disruption in blood flow to the brain because of either blockage of a blood vessel, known as ischemic stroke, or a rupture of a blood vessel, known as hemorrhagic stroke.

An ischemic stroke results from a blood clot that forms either in an artery of the brain or in another part of the body, such as the heart, then travels through the bloodstream to the brain where it becomes lodged in a blood vessel.

Approximately 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

Regardless of where it originally forms, the clot prevents the brain from receiving the blood and oxygen it needs to function properly.

When brain cells are deprived of blood and oxygen, they begin to die. This may cause permanent damage to the affected area of the brain and can result in disability or even death.

Symptoms of Stroke

  • sudden weakness, paralysis or numbness of face, arm and leg on one side of the body
  • difficulty speaking or loss of speech; inability to understand speech
  • blurred, dimness in or loss of vision, especially in one eye
  • dizziness or loss of balance/ coordination, especially if associated with other neurological symptoms such as unsteady gait or sudden falls
  • sudden, severe headache often described as "the worst headache of your life"

Call First, Call Fast, Call 911

Seek emergency medical help immediately to take advantage of treatment options. Fortunately, a tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) known as rt-PA may now offer new hope for eligible acute ischemic stroke patients and their families, possibly improving the patient's chance of recovery with minimal or no disability.

While rt-PA is a new treatment for acute ischemic stroke, it is not a new medication. It has been used successfully for more than 10 years to treat heart attack patients.

Not all patients with acute ischemic stroke are eligible for rt-PA therapy.

For example, patients with hemorrhagic stroke or with recent head surgery or trauma or previous stroke, uncontrolled high blood pressure, active internal bleeding or impaired blood clotting are not appropriate candidates.

rt-PA works by dissolving the blood clot causing the blockage and restoring blood flow and oxygen to the affected brain area. The process is called thrombolysis; the thrombus (blood clot) is dissolved by a thrombolytic drug administered intravenously.

Brain cells can survive without oxygen for only a short time. For this reason, stroke is a true medical emergency, and time is critical.

All patients being considered for rt-PA therapy should have a CT scan, a physical examination, blood tests, a neurological assessment and a patient history-all within a time frame that will allow treatment to begin within three hours of symptom onset.

When stroke patients get to the hospital as early as possible, the physician can work to determine whether thrombolytic treatment is appropriate.

Brain attack, like heart attack, is a medical emergency. The sooner medical treatment starts after stroke symptoms begin, the better the chance for survival and successful rehabilitation and recovery.

Beat Stroke by Knowing What It Is

Stroke is a brain attack. A stroke cuts off vital supplies of blood and oxygen to the brain cells that control everything we do-speaking, walking, breathing.

Stroke is an emergency. For someone having a stroke, fast emergency medical treatment could make all the difference - the difference between life and death - the difference between brain cells that can be saved and brain cells that never recover - the difference between recovery and lifelong impairment.

Stroke is preventable. Stroke has many risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, heart disease, cigarette smoking, obesity, age, gender, history of prior stroke, heredity and diabetes. It is important to speak with your physician about lifestyle changes that can help control risk factors and reduce your chances of a stroke.