UH Parma Stroke Screening Focuses On Prevention

Not staying up to watch late night TV might have saved Ron Clow’s life.

Usually when his wife heads to bed in the evening, Ron remains in the living room to finish a ball game or some other show. But on the night of Feb. 28, Josephine said she was going to bed, and Ron thought that sounded like a good idea.

He was right.

When Josephine came out of the bathroom after preparing for bed, Ron was speaking gibberish and having trouble moving one side of his body. At least that’s what he was told, because he doesn’t remember any of the next three days, from being transported by ambulance to UH Parma Medical Center for evaluation of a stroke and administration of the clot-busting Tenecteplase, to being lifeflighted to UH Cleveland Medical Center for a thrombectomy or mechanical removal of the clot.

“Thank God for her – she called 9-1-1 for the ambulance,” said the Parma man, 73, who has been married to his wife for 54 years and known her since kindergarten. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

UH Parma is a Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center and among 14 UH hospitals recognized for quality stroke care. UH Cleveland Medical Center, a Comprehensive Stroke Center that can handle mechanical removal of clots in ischemic stroke cases, is the only hospital in Ohio for the second consecutive year to receive all four of the highest awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Quality Achievement Awards.

Timing is critical in stroke cases. Every 40 seconds in the United States, someone suffers a stroke, and every 3.5 minutes someone dies. It’s the leading cause of long-term disability in the country. UH Parma works closely with EMS on stroke identification, and EMS can notify the hospital of a suspected stroke en route to the Emergency Department. The Stroke Team is activated to prepare for the patient.

“EMS identified his stroke symptoms, and stroke activation was initiated before he arrived,” said ED physician Tom Mager, MD. “He was evaluated in the hallway and then taken directly to CT. Radiology interpreted his head CT, and I ordered thrombolytics and a CT angiogram that identified a large vessel arterial occlusion. The patient was flown to CMC (UH Cleveland Medical Center). It was similar to care that we perform every day.”

Ron spent a total of 21 days in the hospital, including three days in the Neurosciences Unit at UH Cleveland Medical Center before returning to his community hospital for intensive therapy at UH Parma’s Acute Rehabilitation Center.
He has graduated from a walker to a cane and is moving around pretty well now. He starting outpatient physical therapy.

“Everybody at the hospital was just great,” Ron said. Added Josephine: “He wouldn’t be doing as good as he is if everybody – the paramedics, the doctors, the nurses, everybody – didn’t move quick. I couldn’t say enough about all of them.”

The most effective treatments for stroke are only available if the stroke is identified within the first three hours after symptoms present. It’s critical to BE FAST:
• BALANCE – Is it difficult for the person to walk?
• EYE – Does the person have a sudden change in vision?
• 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?
• SPEECH – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the speech slurred? Can he/she repeat the sentence?
• TIME – If the person shows any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

UH Parma has planned a stroke screening on Thursday, May 11 from 12-2 p.m. at the Parma-Powers Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, 6996 Powers Blvd., Parma, across the street from the hospital. The free stroke risk assessment from the UH experts includes checks of blood pressure, blood glucose, total cholesterol and body mass index. No preregistration is required.

UH experts also are offering two virtual health talks during Stroke Awareness Month. Register for these talks at UHhospitals.org/StrokeRisk:
• Stroke 101 on Wednesday, May 10 from 12-1 p.m. with Cathy Sila, MD, Director of the UH System Stroke Program
• Life After Stroke on Wednesday, May 24 from 6-7 p.m. with a variety of experts including Dr. Sila speaking on stroke prevention medications and others covering driving evaluation after a stroke and smoking cessation strategies.

CJ Sheppard

Senior Communications Strategist, University Hospitals Parma Medical Center

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:01 AM, 05.01.2023