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Treatment time is critical for stroke patients. When minutes count, having an advanced stroke center with the technology and capability to care for you can make all of the difference. At Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, we’ve assembled an experienced team of medical specialties to better attend to the critical needs of stroke patients in our community and help improve their outcomes.
Our local interventional neurology team is on-call around the clock to provide an endovascular approach to treating strokes in San Luis Obispo County, drastically improving treatment time and helping to minimize brain damage. When you arrive at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center at the first sign of stroke, our specialized stroke response team has the enhanced ability to provide you with an advanced level of stroke care.
When it comes to stroke, “Time is Brain.” That’s because there is a small window of time for treatment to be effective. Most strokes are caused by blood clots plugging a blood vessel or artery in the brain (ischemic stroke). Previously, only the use of medical interventions, such as intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), was available in San Luis Obispo County to treat ischemic stroke patients. tPA works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. With the addition of mechanical thrombectomy, physicians at Sierra Vista are now able to directly remove these clots more quickly and effectively than tPA alone.
With mechanical thrombectomy, trained physicians are able to thread a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the blocked artery in the brain and remove a large blood clot with a stent retriever. Both tPA and mechanical thrombectomy need to occur within a few hours in order to be effective and improve chances for stroke survival and recovery. The use of mechanical thrombectomy at Sierra Vista essentially eliminates the need for emergency air transport
What is Stroke?
A stroke is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to begin dying from lack of oxygenated blood.
There are two major kinds of stroke:
Ischemic Stroke - The most common, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. This clot causes a region of the brain to be deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients, leading to death of brain cells.
Hemorrhagic Stroke – This type of stroke is caused by a blood vessel breaking and bleeding into the brain. Two types of weakened blood vessels that typically cause hemorrhagic stroke are aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
Brain Aneurysms- A brain aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel develops a weak area in the wall that allows the vessel to balloon out and fill with blood.
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) - AVMs happen when a group of blood vessels in your body forms incorrectly. In these malformations, arteries and veins are unusually tangled.
Use the National Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. test to help you remember the warning signs and symptoms of stroke:
Face (Facial weakness) – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms (Arm weakness) - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech (Speech problems) – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?
Time - If a person is having trouble with these basic commands, call 911 immediately.
If you experience any of the stroke signs, or identify the signs in someone else, act F.A.S.T. and dial 911.