"Stroke" Emergency

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"Stroke" Emergency
"Stroke" Emergency

Video: "Stroke" Emergency

Video: "Stroke" Emergency
Video: How to handle a stroke emergency? 2023, September

"Stroke" emergency

“Time is brain” - nothing counts as much in an acute stroke as time. Every minute of the circulatory disturbance or the cerebral hemorrhage damages the brain. The sooner those affected are treated, the better the chances of surviving the stroke and saving brain cells. This is the only way to prevent serious consequential damage as far as possible. Stroke diagnosis and acute treatment are therefore always a race against time. The magic limit for the optimal start of therapy is within the first four and a half hours after the first signs of an ischemic stroke…


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  • TIA or "real" stroke?
  • Signs of a stroke
  • First aid measures
  • Measures by the emergency doctor

Important: The time calculation starts with the first signs, not when you arrive at the hospital! This means: Only if those affected, relatives or those present in the event of an emergency recognize the initial symptoms immediately and act correctly, can unnecessary delays up to the hospital admission be prevented.

TIA or "real" stroke?

A transitory ischemic attack (TIA) - also known as "Schlagerl" - is often the harbinger of a stroke. In this "minor stroke", the cerebral blood flow is only disturbed for a short time. As with a stroke, there are sudden neurological deficits.

Common symptoms

  • Paralysis and numbness: eg weakness and / or numbness in one arm, one leg or one half of the body; Numbness in the mouth; drooping corner of the mouth
  • Speech disorders
  • Sudden confusion
  • Dizziness and / or imbalance: eg imbalance with and without dizziness
  • Visual and hearing disorders: e.g. seeing double vision

In contrast to the "real" stroke, however, these disorders usually regress completely after minutes (sometimes only hours). Even so, the TIA is a medical emergency. In any case, call the ambulance or the emergency doctor immediately (Tel.: 112)! If left untreated, one in ten people with a TIA will suffer another stroke within the next three months, half of them within two days. Therefore, a TIA such as a "major" stroke should be treated immediately.

A study by the University of Oxford shows that acute treatment and follow-up care for a TIA in a stroke unit can prevent a subsequent stroke by 80 percent.

Signs of a stroke

The stroke comes like lightning out of the blue and requires immediate action. It is therefore important that laypeople also recognize the typical signs of a stroke and take immediate action. Attention: Always call the ambulance or the emergency doctor immediately at the first signs of a stroke.

Common signs

The type and intensity of stroke symptoms depend primarily on the location and size of the damaged brain area.

  • Half-sided paralysis: corners of the mouth droop. Arm and / or leg are limp and weak.
  • Insensitivity or numbness in different parts of the body (mostly arm, leg or face): e.g. sudden clumsiness of the hand or the hand feels “strange”
  • Speech disorder or speech comprehension disorders: slurred speech (babbling), twisted syllables, loss of speech and / or comprehension disorders (e.g. incorrectly following instructions or senseless verbiage)
  • Sudden visual weakness / visual disturbances: double vision, blurred vision, one-sided vision loss, one-sided visual field loss
  • Sudden severe headache may indicate a hemorrhage in the brain.
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, imbalance or poor coordination: unsteady gait with a tendency to fall (especially to one side)

First aid measures

If the person concerned is unconscious:

  • Loosen clothing to make breathing easier.
  • Stable side positioning
  • Emergency number 144 or Euro emergency number 112
  • Control your breathing every minute! Respiratory failure requires resuscitation measures by the first aider. Instructions for first aid can be found on the Wiener Berufsrettung website.

If the person concerned is aware:

  • Emergency number 144 or Euro emergency number 112
  • Raise the head and shoulders of the person concerned (place a pillow under the head)
  • Loosen clothing to make breathing easier.
  • Provide fresh air (open window).

Further measures:

  • Keep the airways free - remove dentures if necessary.
  • In the event of nausea and vomiting, place the person affected in a stable position on their side.
  • In no case pour drinks! Many stroke patients have difficulty swallowing.
  • Medicines may also not be administered! Not even for existing headaches. Many of these drugs (such as aspirin) can increase possible bleeding in the brain.

Measures by the emergency doctor

The emergency doctor or the paramedic conducts a quick emergency examination and asks the person concerned or the relatives - especially about the time of the first signs. He / she documents the beginning of the symptoms, the extent of the deficits such as paralysis, speech and vision disorders, etc. In addition, he / she measures blood pressure, controls breathing and assesses the state of consciousness. Often she / he already has an intravenous line in place. The emergency doctor or the paramedic will immediately arrange for the patient to be transported to a hospital (ideally a stroke unit) and announce the patient by phone. An ECG can already be performed in the ambulance during transport.

Since many stroke patients have speech disorders, the doctors treating them depend on information from relatives. It is therefore very important that relatives accompany the patient to the hospital! In hospitals, so-called stroke units (monitoring units specially designed for strokes) offer the ideal environment for rapid diagnosis and therapy. With 39 stroke units, Austria ranks among the absolute leaders in terms of acute care for stroke patients in an international comparison.