Knapp Medical Center Wins Awards for Care of Stroke Patients

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Weslaco hospital recognized for caring for patients with “brain attacks”, following national guidelines

Mega Doctor News

Weslaco – Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco has received “Silver Plus” and “Target: Stroke Honor Roll” awards for care of stroke patients from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

The national awards program, Get With The Guidelines, is designed to help ensure that the care hospitals provide for patients with “brain attacks” is aligned with the latest scientific guidelines.

In addition to the awards, Knapp Medical Center was recently re-certified by the Joint Commission, the national accrediting organization for healthcare organizations, as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center for the Mid-Valley area. Knapp is also designated as a Primary (Level II) Stroke Facility by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Stroke is a disease which affects the arteries leading to the brain and the blood vessels within the brain.   A stroke occurs when an artery that carries oxygen to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts.  When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs — and that part of the brain starts to die.

At Knapp Medical Center, a “clot-busting” medication called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is used when medically indicated to reverse strokes.  In many cases, this medication has been shown to help improve a patient’s chances of surviving a stroke without permanent disability – or to minimize the severity of disabilities.

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However, the medication is most effective if it is administered as soon as possible from when symptoms of a stroke start – and no later than three to four and a half hours after the onset of a stroke.

Because of this tight time window, it is important to call 911 immediately when a loved one or another person shows symptoms of a ‘brain attack’.

“It’s important to act without delay when a stroke occurs,” said Pat Wagman, RN, Stroke Coordinator for Knapp Medical Center.

According to Knapp’s achievement award certificate, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Knapp Medical Center “for its continued success in using the Get With The Guidelines Stroke and Target Stroke program.  Thank you for applying the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes in the community you serve.”

Strokes are a leading cause of long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

In the Valley, many people are at risk for stroke because of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

It is important to learn the following warning signs of stroke and act quickly if you see any of these symptoms in a loved one or other person:

“B”  – BALANCE:  Is the person suddenly having trouble with walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination ?

“E” – EYES: Does the person have sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes ?

“F” – FACE:  Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

“A” – ARMS:  Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

“S” – SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

“T” – TERRIBLE HEADACHE:  Is the person suffering from a sudden severe headache with no known cause?

“T” – TIME:   If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately. Also note the time that symptoms of stroke first started; that will be important information to give to the medical professionals who treat the stroke victim.  MDN