According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the primary cause of long-term disability in the United States. When someone suffers a stroke, rapid intervention is crucial, and every minute that passes without treatment can have significant impact on survival and recovery. Delayed treatment also plays a role in the outcome of individuals who suffer a heart attack (STEMI). For those who experience a Stroke or STEMI, early recognition of signs and symptoms followed by quick and adequate treatment can be the difference between life and death.
As a Level III STEMI & Stroke facility, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital works diligently to educate community members as well as MBSH staff on the importance of moving quickly and efficiently when stroke or STEMI is suspected. Recently, Dr. Stuart T. Higano, M.D., F.A.C.C. Medical Director at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center held an in-service at MBSH to update staff on the most recent protocol of STEMI treatment. Dr. Higano stated that 51% of acute STEMI patient who seen at Missouri Baptist Medical Center are transferred in from other facilities, with 30% of those transfers coming from Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital.
While it is crucial for patients who present to the MBSH Emergency Department with signs of a STEMI or Stroke to be quickly transferred for additional care, it is also important for individuals outside of the hospital setting to be able to recognize the signs of STEMI and Stroke so that they can minimize the amount of time that passes between the event and when medical care is initiated. Vanessa Breen, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Leader/TCD Coordinator at MBSH, recently gave a presentation at Temple Baptist Church to provide community members with information on STEMI and Stroke. Over 25 church members were present to learn more about risk factors, signs and symptoms and the importance of quick action when STEMI or Stroke is suspected. “Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of STEMI & Stroke and getting medical assistance quickly is critical in the outcome of these patients, so we want to try to get this information out to as many people as possible.”
For more information on STEMI & Stroke services at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital, or to schedule a STEMI & Stroke presentation for your organization, please call 573-468-4186 or visit www.missouribaptistsullivan.org.
Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital holds a Level III STEMI & Stroke designation by the Missouri State Department of Health and Senior Services. This designation means that MBSH meets the standards to provide definite and timely treatment for STEMI & Stroke patients. Along with this designation, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital offers cardiac rehabilitation services and virtual care with BJC Stroke Neurologists via telehealth capabilities. These services allow patients to receive much of the essential follow up care required following a STEMI or Stroke, close to home at the Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital and Clinics, minimizing the need to travel to St. Louis for continued treatment and monitoring.
STEMI & Stroke Signs and Symptoms:
STEMI is a common name for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, which is a more precise definition for a type of heart attack. It's caused by a prolonged period of blocked blood supply that affects a large area of the heart. STEMI has a substantial risk of death and disability and calls for a quick response.
STEMI will typically result in intense pain or pressure in or around the chest, often radiating to the neck, jaw, shoulder, or arm. Profuse sweating, breathlessness, and a profound sense of impending doom also common. At times, the signs may be far less obvious, manifesting with nonspecific or generalized symptoms such as:
- Pain around the shoulder blades, arm, chest, jaw, left arm, or upper abdomen
- A painful sensation described as having a "clenched fist in the chest"
- Discomfort or tightness in the neck or arm
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue or sudden exhaustion
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Increased or irregular heart rate
- Clammy skin
Stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost. How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.
- BE FAST is an easy way to remember and identify the most common symptoms of a stroke. Recognition of stroke and calling 9-1-1 will determine how quickly someone will receive help and treatment. Getting to a hospital rapidly will more likely lead to a better recovery.
- BALANCE: Is this person experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
- EYES: Is this person experiencing 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 phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Photo: Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital STEMI & Stroke Team