Stroke Care, The New “IT” Thing
Neurology is a difficult science.
The brain is a convoluted organ with many highways and byways. It’s amazing how the brain sorts out millions of messages and allows us to communicate and move about. However, damage caused to the brain by a stroke can immensely impair a person’s ability to communicate and function effectively. For these reasons in 2017 the American Heart Association announced they were reaching beyond their boundaries of heart disease to encompass Brain Disorders, specifically that of stroke.
To begin breaking down the vast and intricate details of the brain and stroke let’s start with the circle of Willis.
The brain has a vascular foundation called the Circle of Willis. Circle of Willis directs blood supply to the lobes of the brain. As a matter of fact, an occlusion within Circle of Willis can be detected with a Non-contrast CT scan. If the occlusion is small, tPA is used to dissolve the clot. On the other hand, if the clot is large, a Thrombolectomy is performed.
Furthermore, there are 4 kinds of strokes.
These include: the Ischemic Stroke that occludes; the Hemorrhagic Stroke that bleeds; the Subarachnoid Stroke that has bleeding in the subarachnoid space; and a very new one called Cryptogenic Stroke. This new stroke has unidentifiable causes.
In addition, there are a multitude of Stroke Scores that give healthcare providers insight of a person’s risk of developing a stroke.
For example, the Cincinnati and Los Angeles stroke score determines the risk of developing an Ischemic Stroke. Ask yourself, “What do these two stroke scores have in common?” They both are cities and what do cities have? They have traffic with clogged up highways and byways. Similar to arteries with atherosclerosis. Therefore, these 2 stroke scores identify the risk of an Ischemic Stroke.
Likewise, there is so much that impacts a victim of a stroke. The nurse must be aware of these developments and prevent conditions that have a long lasting effect, such as increased risk of seizures, falls, infections, skin breakdown, GI bleeding, contractions, constipation, DVTs, urinary dysfunction and malnutrition.
In addition, the victim of a stroke may need to take a multitude of medications that suppress aggravating symptoms.
Consequently, certain medications such as Antiplatelets, Anticoagulants, Hypertensives, Anticonvulsants, Hyperglycemics, Antispasmodics, Antidepressants, Stimulants, Antipsychotics, and Analgesics may provoke adverse reactions. A nurse should be well adept on the assessments that should be performed to detect adverse reactions, rapidly.
As an educator and avid fan of lifelong learning, it is my hope that the Healthcare Provider will have a greater understanding of annoying symptoms of a post-stoke patient, but also have an understanding of the drugs available to improve the quality of life of the stroke patient.