Three new options for treating Valley stroke patients

FRESNO, Calif.

/*John Seghdejian*/ gives out compliments with his cuts. At 71-years-old, this Fresno hairstylist has been taking care of his clients for 35 years. But one day in 2009 at a Northwest Fresno salon, John's co-workers had to take care of him.

"One of the girls found me sitting on the chair almost ready to fall down."

John had a stroke and was rushed to /*Kaiser Permanente Medical Center*/ in Northeast Fresno. After treatment, John had no long-term damage from the stroke.

"The doctor told me I was lucky."

Kaiser is now certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Kaiser met strict criteria with nationally developed standards for stroke treatment, and will care for member and non-member stroke patients.

"It's important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke because time lost is brain lost. Time is really important," said Dr. Trilok Puniani. "Patients should reach their nearest emergency department.

Doctors recommend using this guide to detect signs of stroke, fast. Look at the face for an uneven smile try to raise your arms do you have slurred speech? And time is critical, call 911.

Once a stroke patient is brought to Kaiser's emergency department, a stroke alert is activated and a special team is ready to respond, around the clock.

A CT scan is done on the patient to detect any bleeding in the brain. Then the patient is evaluated for the next step in treatment.

If it's determined the patient is having a stroke, because of a blood clot, a critical drug can be administered to break-up that clot. It's called tissue plasminogen activator or TPA. The goal is to get this drug into the patient within three hours of symptoms. Kaiser's goal is to get it to the patient within one hour, from the ER door, to the drug.

/*Community Regional Medical Center*/ was the Valley's first Primary Stroke Center. /*Saint Agnes Medical Center*/ in Northeast Fresno just earned its certification as well. Now the community has three major hospitals where patients can get urgent stroke care. Hopefully with more outcomes like John's.

"Everything turned out ok."

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