In January 2018, the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) released new ischemic stroke treatment guidelines that make more patients eligible for life-saving treatments.

According to the ASA, an ischemic stroke accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases and occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.

The updated guidelines expand the treatment window for a clot-removal procedure, called a mechanical thrombectomy, from six hours to 24 hours after the stroke begins. This procedure is effective for the most severe strokes, those caused by large vessel occlusions (blockages).

This change in the guidelines will allow emergency medical services (EMS) to treat almost every patient that has stroke symptoms as a candidate for intervention treatment. However, just because the time frame and intervention treatment options have expanded it doesn't mean you should wait to seek medical attention if you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke. The sooner patients arrive at a hospital - ideally a comprehensive stroke center - the more likely they are to receive lifesaving clot-removal treatments.

It's important to call 9-1-1 at the first sign of stroke. Oftentimes the individual who's experiencing the stroke is too disoriented to call 9-1-1, so it's important to learn how to spot a stroke and B-E F-A-S-T.

  • Balance (Is the person having trouble?)
  • Eyesight (Is there blurred or double vision?)
  • Face (Is one side of the face drooping or numb?)
  • Arm (Is one arm weak or numb?)
  • Speech (Is speech difficult or slurred?)
  • Time to call 9-1-1

tags: 911 , emergency , stroke