Neurologists often say that “time is brain.” It refers to the rapid die-off rate of neurons when the blood supply to the brain is obstructed. In other words, the longer a stroke is left untreated, the worse the outcome is going to be. As soon as you or someone else displays possible signs of stroke, call 911 without delay and request an ambulance. The emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital coordinates closely with emergency responders, so that possible stroke patients can be evaluated and treated immediately upon arrival.
Here’s what happens during a stroke
There are different types of stroke, and these types can happen in different ways. The majority of strokes are ischemic. These occur when the blood supply to the brain is cut off by an obstruction in a blood vessel.
A blood clot can form within that blood vessel, or it may form elsewhere and then travel toward the brain. As it travels, the blood vessels narrow. Eventually, the blood clot will lodge in place, obstructing blood flow.
Once blood flow is cut off, the brain begins to sustain damage. According to the medical journal Stroke , a forebrain of a typical human contains about 22 billion neurons. For every minute that the brain is deprived of blood, it can lose:
- 1.9 million neurons
- 14 billion synapses
- 7.5 miles of myelinated fibers
For every hour that the brain is deprived of blood, it can lose:
- 120 million neurons
- 830 billion synapses
- 447 miles of myelinated fibers
These statistics underscore the importance of rushing stroke patients to emergency care as quickly as possible.
Here’s how emergency care doctors treat ischemic stroke
When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear a neurologist explain how stroke specialists can treat ischemic stroke patients. If the patient arrives at the hospital within 4.5 hours of the onset of the stroke, he or she can be given a potent clot-busting drug that rapidly clears the obstruction and restores blood flow to the brain.
Good Samaritan Hospital is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center —a designation that reflects our stroke specialists’ enduring commitment to healthcare excellence. Our Stroke Team in San Jose has extensive experience working together to give our patients the best possible outcome. For non-emergent, general healthcare questions only, you can reach a friendly member of our nursing staff at (888) 724-2362.