Stroke is an emergency "brain attack", cutting off vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Ischemic stroke occurs when arteries are blocked by blood clots or by the gradual build-up of plaque and other fatty deposits. About 87% of all strokes are ischemic. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, leaking blood into the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes account for 13% of all strokes.
Seeking treatment within the first three hours of a stroke can significantly reduce life-threatening or long-term complications.
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
Time: If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 911 immediately!
Conemaugh East Hills
1450 Scalp Avenue, Suite 2100
Johnstown, PA 15904
Phone: (814) 269-5061
Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center
1086 Franklin Street
Johnstown, PA 15905
Phone: (814) 534-9000
Units: 8 Rose, 10 Rose, ICU, CCU
Department of Emergency Medicine Primary Stroke Center
Stroke can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or ethnic background.
Age – risk of stroke doubles for each decade of life after 55
Family history – risk increases if a parent, sibling, or grandparent had a stroke
Race – African-Americans are at higher risk of stroke than Caucasians
Gender – Stroke affects more men than women, but more women than men die from stroke
Prior stroke, TIA, or heart attack – risk of stroke grows substantially if the patient has suffered any of these conditions
Additional Risk Factors
High blood pressure
Carotid or other artery disease
Sickle cell disease
High blood cholesterol
Physical inactivity or excess weight
Sudden blurred or altered vision, especially on one side
Sudden weakness or numbness, especially on one side
Sudden difficulty in speaking or understanding speech
Sudden dizziness, imbalance, or an unexplained fall
Sudden, severe headache
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
TIAs are brief episodes of stroke symptoms that resolve within minutes or hours, unlike stroke symptoms which can last longer
TIAs are a serious warning of an impending stroke
TIA symptoms are the same as for stroke
Up to 40% of patients who experience a TIA will have a full stroke; 5% will have a stroke within two days of the TIA; 10-15% will have a stroke within 90 days of a TIA
Management of TIAs focuses on preventing a future stroke
Quick and coordinated response can limit the physical and neurological damage often associated with stroke, especially if patients who suspect they are having a stroke go to the Department of Emergency Medicine within three hours of first symptoms.
The Stroke Team at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center will perform a CT scan to further evaluate for stroke. Once stroke is confirmed, neurologists will begin immediate treatment and continue to manage the patient’s care during the hospital stay and recovery process.
Using criteria established by the National Institutes of Health, Conemaugh's Department of Emergency Medicine specialists and Neurologists evaluate the severity of the stroke and determine if the patient is eligible for clot-busting medication for the treatment of stroke.
Evaluation and care by vascular and neurology specialists
CT, MRI, and other diagnostic scans
Care by specially trained nursing teams on designated Neuro-Specialty Units
Frequent monitoring of swallowing and speech capabilities by nursing and Speech Therapy
Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapy by therapists educated to address the stroke patient's needs
Ongoing assessments of pneumonia risks and blood clot-related complications
Lifestyle changes including diet, smoking habits, and exercise
Regular visits with a primary care physician and follow-up visits with a Neurologist to manage risk factors such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or excess weight
Surgery may be required to treat or remove stroke-related hemorrhages or to treat the underlying cause of a stroke, such as an aneurysm or intracerebral hemmorhage
Stroke Care Specialty Clinic Team
Working closely with the patient's family physician, Conemaugh's team includes:
Emergency room physicians
Specially trained nurses
Stroke coordinator to provides oversight to the program
Designated Neuroscience Nurse Educator
Neuroscience Resource Nurses
Conemaugh's team will diagnose the exact nature and extent of the patient's stroke. With advanced imaging equipment, physicians can identify precisely the brain areas that have been affected and determine the best course of treatment for each patient. Stroke patients are strongly encouraged to follow up with physicians. Patients are at higher risk of stroke or recurring stroke after experiencing a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Conemaugh staff designated to stroke units complete annual stroke specific education
Nurses and providers on stroke units are stroke scale certified by the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)
Provide and participate in stroke related community outreach and provide EMS stroke related education