Immediate Stroke Treatment In Hospital
Immediate stroke treatment can be divided into 2 distinct parts. The immediate series of investigations you will have when you arrive in hospital and the longer-term measures needed to control associated medical problems and aid your rehabilitation.
On arriving in hospital you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. He will take a history off you or your relatives and examine you. Your blood pressure and pulse should be checked and blood tests will be taken.
When it is clear you may have suffered a stroke, an urgent brain CT scan should be organised. You should have it as soon as possible after your first symptoms appear. It is essential to determine if you have had a hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke, which part of the brain has been affected and how severe your stroke is.
If you have had an ischemic stroke you can be given a clot-busting drug, which dissolves the clot and minimises the damage to your brain. This must be given within 3 – 6 hours of your symptoms starting to be effective.
It cannot be given if you have had a hemorrhagic stroke, as it will make your symptoms much worse. The only reliable method to determine which type you have had is a brain scan. Without that you can’t receive clot-busting drugs.
Other tests you may have include an ECG or EKG, which is the tracing of your heart and heart rhythm. A chest X-ray may be indicated to assess your heart and lungs and possibly a urine test.
By far and away the most important thing when you first reach the hospital is to have a head scan as soon as possible. Clot busting drugs can reverse your symptoms almost like magic and avoid many of the major problems caused by strokes.
After the initial investigations, diagnosis and immediate treatment you will be admitted to hospital for further investigations, treatment and the start of your rehabilitation.
Further investigations you may have include an ultrasound of your carotid artery, an echocardiogram of your heart and further X-rays. You will also have regular blood tests to check on your progress during your recovery.
A very important test you will have with 24 – 48 hours is a swallowing test. Over a third of people have swallowing problems after a stroke, which can affect your ability to eat, drink and talk. A speech and language therapist will start to work with you if necessary.
Any previously undiagnosed medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol levels will be treated as well.
As soon as you are stable your rehabilitation will begin. As it causes so many different problems there will be many different therapists involved and a detailed plan will be drawn up.