Stroke Alert: Racing the Clock: May 26, 2013

Time is brain when it comes to stroke.

“About 1 million nerve cells die every minute when there is a pending stroke,” says Dr. Nima Mowzoon, neurologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

A stroke occurs when a clot travels to the brain and disrupts blood flow. Until it’s stopped, the damage expands, killing brain tissue that can never be repaired.

“The sooner we can get the patient to the treatment table and give the treatment the more brain tissue we can save. And we learned now over the years the Golden Hour, 60 minutes after the patient walks thru the door, is the best timeline we can give the patients the clot busting medicines,” says Dr. Mowzoon.

To meet that deadline, Lee Memorial Health System set up an accelerated game plan. It starts in the field, with EMS calling a ‘Code S’.

“When they see a patient with a potential stroke the Code S is activated right then and there. They go ahead and notify the hospital before coming to the hospital. The second the patient comes through the door we already know what we’re waiting for. Immediately the patient gets in the laboratory and gets wheeled to the CT scanner and gets back. Which happens within just several minutes,” says Dr. Mowzoon.

There is even a hotline to get word to the neurologists so they can be at the bedside within minutes.

“At the same time the pharmacist is waiting to mix that medicine and administrate that medicine very quickly if we need it,” says Dr. Mowzoon.

Studies find these ‘real-time’ notification systems are successful in shrinking delays. Nationwide, more people are making the 60 minutes admission-to-treatment window, which makes for better outcomes.

“We’ve been able to monitor our progress and we’ve been able to meet that 60 minutes for the majority of it,” says Dr. Mowzoon.

Winning the time war means more people are surviving stroke- with fewer disabilities.