Stroke is a Medical Emergency, even during the Pandemic

FAST 2020

June is Stroke Month and the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network wants to remind everyone about the importance of identifying the signs of a stroke.

A stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted to the brain. There are two types of stroke, ischemic or hemorrhagic. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini stroke is also considered a medical emergency. Treatment is still needed FAST even during the pandemic.

The acronym FAST is a tool which makes recognizing stroke easy to remember. Face – is it drooping? Arms – can you raise both? Speech – is it slurred or jumbled? Time – call 911 right away.

“We need to be aware of the benefits of calling 9-1-1 and the expertise that first responders and paramedics bring to stroke care,” said Dr. Hassan, Medical Lead for the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network. “They are trained to recognize the signs of stroke and mobilize the patient quickly.”

Time sensitive management of stroke care, including monitoring vital signs and blood glucose, is administered by paramedics. The paramedics determine several factors, including the time that the patient was last known to be well and any existing health conditions. After determining that information, the paramedics send a pre-alert communication to the hospital, which is critical in activating the process of stroke care. At that time, the hospital system provides an important call to the Stroke Physician to let them know a patient is en route. The goal of this pre-alert communication is to help ensure that the Stroke Physician and health care team are ready when the patient arrives at the Emergency Department.

A stroke can be mild, moderate or severe which is why FAST evaluation and treatment is needed. Do not delay stroke care, even during the pandemic. Emergency medical care will always be available at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to those who need it. Remember to act FAST: Time loss equals brain loss equals function loss.

Publishing this article in no way serves as an endorsement from NWO Regional Stroke Network. The NWO Regional Stroke Network does not verify the veracity of information in this item and any views expressed are of the author(s) alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of NWO Regional Stroke Network​