HealthONE - April 08, 2022

Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke which is once every 40 seconds. And, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes. When a stroke occurs 200,000 neurons die every minute and that number grows to up to two million brain cells in the case of the most serious strokes.  It is absolutely critical for stroke victims to receive treatment as quickly as possible. Time is brain.

In many cases, victims may be transported to an emergency room via Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMS agencies utilize guidelines for transporting patients, which are ultimately aimed at ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients. The longer a patient’s treatment is delayed, the greater the impact the stroke will have — potentially disabling the patient for life, or worse.

Recently released federal guidelines by the National Association of State EMS Officials will help policies catch up to proven technological innovations and steer all states and localities toward triage, transport and treatment protocols that best meet the needs of stroke patients. Stroke experts like Don Frei, MD, neurointerventional surgeon with the Swedish Neuro Network, believe the new guidelines will infuse urgency and support into current efforts and jumpstart protocol updates across the country.

In the meantime, recognize these BEFAST signs and seek emergency care at a certified stroke center immediately.

  • B – Balance: Are you experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • E – Eyes: Are you having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
  • F – Face: Is one side of the face drooping?
  • A – Arms: Can you raise both arms? Does one drift downward?
  • S – Speech: Are words slurred? Can your repeat back a simple sentence?
  • T – Time: Time is crucial. If you notice these symptoms, call 911

The hospitals of the Swedish Neuro Network offer some of the most advanced stroke treatment in the Rocky Mountain region and the nation, as recognized by the Joint Commission:

  • Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center - Swedish Medical Center (First in Colorado)
  • Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center - Sky Ridge Medical Center (First in Colorado)
  • Primary Stroke Center - Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center and Rose Medical Center