May has been designated as American Stroke Month. To bring awareness to strokes UCSD’s Stroke and Cardiovascular Centers is holding a special forum, Innovations in Stroke Treatment and Technology on May 3 at 4:00 p.m. in Garren Auditorium on the UCSD Campus. The colloquium will address prevention, the latest research, diagnosis and treatment such as brain-cooling and telemedicine to diagnose strokes from afar. The forum will feature UCSD Stroke Center physicians, Christy M. Jackson, M.D., Director of Stroke Prevention, Patrick D. Lyden, M.D., Director of the Stroke Center, and Brett C. Meyer, M.D., Co-Director, who will speak on the latest life-saving innovations. For more information or to reserve a seat for this free lecture, call 619-543-3499.
Founded to discover, develop and deploy new treatments for stroke, the UCSD Stroke Center includes clinical, research and educational components. With five physicians, four nurses and two administrators, the UCSD Stroke Center provides acute stroke resuscitation and patient management 24 hours per day, seven days per week. To meet the increasing need for skilled stroke specialists, the UCSD Stroke Center trains two physician-fellows each year in a Stroke and Vascular Neurology program.
Among the basic research studies by Stroke Center faculty was the development of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). In the 1990s, the UCSD Stroke Center led the National Institutes of Health sponsored clinical trials of tPA. As part of the San Diego trial, the UCSD Stroke Center brought together other community neurologists to set up the San Diego Stroke Council, which educates both patients and physicians about the warning signs of stroke and the need for urgent evaluation and treatment. The group also established a Stroke Center Network to ease transport of acute stroke patients to those hospitals where doctors have organized a stroke treatment team.
In 2002, The UCSD Stroke Center was recognized by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) as one of the nation’s top academic medical centers providing stroke treatment. In a nationwide survey of 33 academic medical centers and 1,227 patients, the UCSD Stroke Center ranked second overall, measured against a variety of clinical benchmarks, including complication and death rates, length of hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and health counseling prior to discharge.
A few important facts about stroke:
- Someone in America suffers a stroke every 45 seconds, and every 3 minutes, someone dies from it. But thanks to professionals like UCSD's Stroke Center team, about 4.7 million stroke survivors are alive today.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. Approximately 700,000 Americans will have a stroke this year--more than 163,000 will die.
- When a stroke occurs, blood flow can't reach the region that controls a particular body function.
- The signs of stroke: sudden numbness/weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination; sudden, severe headache with no known cause. Strokes can cause paralysis, memory loss, behavior changes, and problems with vision, speech and language.
- Most strokes are ischemic, caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to part of the brain. About 12% are hemorrhagic strokes--a ruptured blood vessel bleeds into brain tissue. Both types injure and can kill vital brain cells. Of these 9 percent are intracerebral hemorrhage and 3 percent are subarachnoid hemorrhage from an aneurysm.
- 50-70 percent of stroke survivors regain functional independence, but 15-30 percent are permanently disabled. Stroke is the leading cause of severe, long-term disability.
- Until very recently, a stroke was seen as unpredictable, unpreventable, untreatable, and absolutely devastating. But in the past 7 years, there's been a revolution. The clot-busting tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may, if given in the first 3 hours after an ischemic stroke begins (not hemorrhagic), save a stroke victim s life, and limit disabling brain-cell damage.
- In 2004, Americans will pay just over $53 billion for stroke-related medical costs, most being nursing home care.
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