April 11, 2019

When someone suffers a stroke, every minute counts. Getting to a stroke center with a team that is specially trained to act quickly and equipped with the latest technology is critical to survival and recovery.

In addition to offering the clot-busting medication tPA and other life-saving measures, the Stroke Center at CAMC now offers patients in southern West Virginia access to the most advanced stroke-detecting technology.

In February, CAMC's stroke team began using software called RAPID on its CT scanners at General and Memorial hospitals.

RAPID%20image%20brain%20animation.jpgRAPID software automatically analyzes CT scans of stroke patients to determine in minutes if the patient is a candidate for a procedure to remove a blood clot from an artery or vein.

"It's really exciting that we're using the latest advanced imaging to help triage patients that would appropriately respond to my interventions for stroke," said James Harman, DO.

As CAMC's only endovascular neurosurgeon, Harman uses tiny catheters and state-of-the-art imaging techniques to treat complex vascular diseases of the brain without open surgery. Instead, he performs surgery inside tiny, delicate blood vessels.

"These techniques can quickly open up blood vessels and get blood back to the brain in a very fast fashion that can lead to patients having a good recovery from their stroke," Harman said.

According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year, which is when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. The resulting lack of oxygen and glucose quickly kills brain tissue in the immediate vicinity until blood supply is restored. The key to optimal treatment is quick and accurate action.

Harman and the team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, emergency medicine physicians, pharmacists and medical rehabilitation specialists at the CAMC Stroke Center provide rapid, comprehensive evaluation and management of stroke to provide patients with the most advanced treatment options.

For more information, visit camc.org/Stroke.

Stroke: Know the Signs

During a stroke, blood stops flowing to part of the brain. This can damage areas in the brain that control the rest of the body.

The acronym "FAST" is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke. If any of these symptoms come on suddenly, call 911 FAST:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to raise up?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Don't wait to see if symptoms go away. Every minute counts. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.

Source: American Stroke Association

RAPID%20images%20on%20phone.jpgAdvanced imaging is critical in helping identify patients for the most effective stroke interventions.

These image maps of the brain created by RAPID software are immediately available to doctors at CAMC via email on mobile devices helping doctors make quicker decisions on how best to treat stroke patients.

"To provide this service at CAMC where patients can quickly receive the most advanced treatments for stroke and brain aneurysms - you can't argue against having that so close to home," said James Harman, DO.

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