From stroke to strength — with comprehensive and timely care | Hartford Hospital

September 26, 2022

Leatha Crook walks again. Her life isn’t what it used to be – she now wears special glasses, she needs a cane, her arms and legs are weaker, she no longer works – but the 57-year-old has come a long way. long way since last December. . “I went out shopping with a friend, and when I got home and got out of the car, it hit me. I couldn’t move. If I had let go of the door, I would have fallen. J I was stuck,” Crook said. Crook’s friend rushed to his side of the car and managed to get her to sit. He asked her what he should do, and she made him drive at St. Vincent Medical Center Emergency Room.“I didn’t feel any pain, but I was so nauseous,” she said. “I ended up throwing up and then my head started pounding like a hammer was hitting it. I could move my arms but not my legs. I couldn’t walk. I lost my balance to the point where everything was weak.
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The former goalkeeper had suffered a strokea common problem in the United States, according to Daniel Cavalcanti, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon at Ayer Institute of Neuroscience at St. Vincent Medical Center. Every 40 seconds there is a new stroke in the United States, which amounts to 800,000 strokes per year, he said. “Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability,” Cavalcanti warned, citing the two main types of stroke. The most common is ischemic stroke, which is characterized by a lack of proper blood flow to the brain and causes cell death. A hemorrhagic stroke means that there is bleeding in the brain. Both share similar risk factors and outcomes, but require different treatments. “For ischemic stroke, there are two main treatments,” Cavalcanti said. “We can give drugs that help break down clots if they come to the ER early. The drug dissolves clots and brings normal blood flow to the vessels if given within 4.5 hours of the first symptoms. The other treatment is slightly more invasive. With a mechanical thrombectomy, doctors make a small incision in the groin area and pass catheters through blood vessels to the clot in the brain or neck. They then create negative pressure through the tubes to suck out the clots. It’s about getting the blood back to the brain as quickly as possible. “Some patients can tolerate a lack of blood flow for hours, but others can’t even make it for a few minutes,” Cavalcanti said. “Basically, we have a 24-hour window to perform this procedure as soon as symptoms appear, but the sooner the better. It is unpredictable how patients will manage without this blood flow. And that’s just emergency care. Often, strokes require long-term assessment and rehabilitation, as in Crook’s case. “It was difficult because I was in the hospital for an entire month,” she said. “They followed me for a long time in intensive care, then in rehabilitation for two weeks where they helped me to walk again. I was bedridden. They cleaned me after I went to the toilet.
> Want more health news? Text MoreLife to 31996 to sign up for text alertsWhen a person suffers a stroke, the part of the brain that has lost blood flow can be permanently damaged, which is why getting to the hospital right away is so important. “If we can restore blood flow to that part of the brain, we can speed up recovery,” said Kelly Matmati, MD, the chair of neurology and director of Stroke Program at St. Vincent’s. “Once in the recovery phase, you can have lasting brain damage from the stroke, so what we need to do is train the healthy part of the brain to take over the function of the part of the brain that was damaged. Thus, people who might have been completely paralyzed can walk six months or a year later. The damaged area does not recover; there is a scar there, but the patient heals. Matmati says that rehabilitation in Mental health is just as important as physical rehabilitation.”If someone has depression after a stroke, which is quite common, it’s important that we treat it because depression can hinder recovery,” she said. said “We will work with the primary care physician to determine a regimen, including therapy, counseling and medication. Crook experienced this throughout his long recovery. “One day I fell into I was just crying e because of everything that happened to me,” she said, adding that hospital staff helped her through. “You get mean, you get frustrated. You don’t want to be bothered, but they were very patient with me, and I thank them for that. She said the St. Vincent’s team was consistent and caring throughout her stay. “The doctors and nurses at the hospital were amazing. They kept checking on me, smiling at me, joking with me. They let me know that everything would be fine, everything would be fine,” he said. she said. “Even my case manager talked to me and said it’s okay to cry – it doesn’t make you weak.” This journey of hope is one of the reasons Matmati specializes in this type of care.” I got into stroke neurology because of the potential to help patients in both the acute period and the recovery period, improve their lives and bring them back to their families,” she said. “I think it’s important to bring hope to people because stroke can be very devastating and people can get discouraged. People overestimate the negative effects that disability could have on their lives. Keep in mind that no two blows are the same. From risk factors to the mechanisms at work hangs Before and after the event until recovery, each person’s journey is different. Heart disease, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, atrial fibrillation, obesity, and lack of exercise all increase the risk of stroke, but one of the most important factors is uncontrolled high blood pressure.“To prevent a stroke, have a healthier lifestyle,” Cavalcanti says. “Quitting smoking is a major risk factor. Control your blood pressure, body weight, eat a healthy diet and try to control your cholesterol.“The important thing for any stroke is to get to the hospital immediately and understand that it’s not the end. For many, it will pass and things will get better. “If you talk to someone who’s never had a stroke and ask them what they think is going to happen, they might be like, ‘Oh, that would destroy me,’ but if you talk to someone who has had a stroke, many times you will find that they are fulfilled and happy,” Matmati said. “They found a way.” Crook also found a way. “I was determined to improve myself and I was determined to do it myself. You have to have that vision to improve yourself,” she said. “I just did what I had to do to get myself out of this predicament and get better.”

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