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Stroke

See a sign of stroke? Call 911 now

When you call 911 for someone who might be having a stroke, you might be saving their life. Thanks to new treatments in recent years, its's possible for a stroke patient who get care quickly to not only survive, but to avoid serious disability. Fast treatment means they're more likely to return home to family and routines.

It is important to get to the hospital quickly

Knowing the signs of a stroke could save your life.

To discuss or evaluate your heart health, call Yakima Valley Memorial's (YVM) Heart, Lung and Vascular Clinic at 509.248.7715
  • In 2018, 1 in every 6 deaths from cardiovascular disease was due to stroke.
  • Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of stroke.
  • Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
  • About 185,000 strokes—nearly 1 of 4—are in people who have had a previous stroke.
  • About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, in which blood flow to the brain is blocked.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Stroke reduces mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.

If a stroke is caused by a blockage, and the type and location can be determined within three hours, patients are often treated with a medication known as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). This medication, for many patients, can dissolve clots and stop or reduce the damage from stroke.

Having a timely consultation with a neurologist can help beat the clock for many people who have had a stroke. YVM staff can access a neurologist at Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle through telemedicine-based technology, ensuring that patients receive around-the-clock access to specialists without traveling away from home. Some patients with complex stroke and other acute healthcare needs may be transferred to Seattle for a higher level of care.

The team includes:

  • Neurologists.
  • Emergency medicine physicians.
  • Neurosurgeons.
  • Specially trained nurses.
  • Clinical pharmacists.
  • Case managers.
  • Rehabilitation specialists.
  • Neuro-hospitalist via telehealth.
  • Interventional neurologist.

Stroke services

  • The Emergency Department at YVM is a 25-bed unit staffed by 75 specialists who treat more than 89,000 patients a year.
  • YVM's Telestroke program provides the latest in emergency stroke services by combining the medical expertise of our larger partner with emergency care right here in Yakima.
  • Heart and vascular lab performs diagnostic and treatment services, enabling hospital staff to treat most patients who may have suffered a heart attack.
  • Vascular surgery Surgery of the carotid artery is performed when the major arteries in your neck become narrowed or blocked. These arteries, called the carotid arteries, supply your brain with blood. Your carotid arteries extend from your aorta in your chest to your brain.
  • Advanced Care Unit: offers 52 beds providing cardiac monitoring by highly trained staff.
  • Home Health Services reaches out to those who need nursing care, rehabilitation and/or therapy—all provided in the comfort of your home. Home healthcare is a skilled, personalized service provided to patients of all ages where they live, including assisted living or group home settings.
  • Anticoagulation management services are provided for stroke patients who are prescribed blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin or Warfarin. These drugs must be closely monitored by pharmaceutical technicians to ensure patients are receiving appropriate dosages.
  • Educational services offers classes and courses on many diseases and medical challenges faced by our community. Many of these courses and events are free or have a nominal cost.

Telestroke

Having a timely consult with a neurologist can help beat the clock for many stroke cases. At YVM, we're using a conference link to neurological experts at Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle to provide diagnosis for complex stroke cases brought into our Emergency Department. With the help of this secure network, members of the stroke team are able to quickly perform 'virtual' bedside neurological evaluations that allow them to examine patients, review brain images and collaborate with our emergency physicians to select the best acute stroke treatment.

While some patients with complex stroke and other acute healthcare needs may be transferred to Seattle for a higher level of care, telemedicine-based technology ensures that most patients receive around-the-clock access to specialists without traveling away from home.

How the Telestroke program works

The Virginia Mason Telestroke team is available 24/7 for consult when a stroke patient arrives in the Emergency Department at the hospital. If needed, emergency physicians contact members of the team, which includes a stroke team physician as well as specially trained stroke nurses, practitioners, physician assistants or registered nurses. Telestroke team members can log in on their home or office computers to complete a Telestroke examination and collaborate on the best medical action for the patient.

The most common rescue therapy that the stroke team use is an FDA-approved medicine called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA. This medicine can reverse the devastating effects of stroke for some patients if it is administered within three hours of the onset of a stroke. The key to the successful use of tPA, or other clot-busting thrombolytic drugs, lies in rapid and correct diagnosis—within 3 hours of onset symptoms. In stroke care, "time is brain," because as every minute passes, more brain cells die if the blood clot causing the stroke is not destroyed. In complex cases, a Telestroke consultation and further diagnosis helps to ensure that in-hospital and post-acute interventions are in place to prevent recurrent stroke and future disability.

Stroke prevention

Knowing the signs of a stroke could save your life. Schedule a check-up with our cardiac team to ensure your heart's health and discuss what to do in the case of a stroke.

To discuss or evaluate your heart health, call 509.248.7715.

Healthy habits could prevent stroke

Some risk factors for stroke cannot be changed, such as gender (male); age (over 55); family history/race; and prior history of stroke, previous TIA or heart attack. However, there are many risk factors for stroke that can be lessened or eliminated by behavior modification and health management.

High blood pressure or hypertension

High blood pressure is the No. 1 cause of stroke, and 1 in 5 adults with hypertension are unaware that they have it. The best thing you can do to take care of your heart is to know your blood pressure and determine if it is healthy.

Know your numbers. A systolic blood pressure (top number) of 140 or higher, OR a diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) of 90 or higher, is considered high blood pressure.

You should work with your provider to achieve and maintain healthy numbers. Healthy habits such as decreasing salt intake and increasing exercise can help to combat hypertension and lower your stroke risk. Learn more about hypertension.

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes (high blood sugar) is a risk factor for stroke. If you have diabetes, it is critical that you control your blood sugar. YVM offers basic education for patients to understand and take care of their diabetes on a daily basis. Structured to encourage, support and promote self-management and long-term maintenance, this class is delivered in sessions over several months. A physician referral is required.

Tobacco use/smoking

Tobacco use in any form can double your risk of stroke. Many of tobacco’s effects are reversible, and if you use tobacco, you should stop. By avoiding or quitting, you can reduce your risk for many adverse health conditions. The Washington State Department of Health Tobacco Quit Line helps you quit using tobacco by addressing the mental and physical aspects of tobacco addiction. Specially trained quit coaches work one-on-one with you to help you identify barriers to quitting, overcome urges and create a quit plan. Learn more.

Physical inactivity and obesity

A sedentary lifestyle or obesity can increase your risk of stroke. Small amounts of physical activity can improve your overall health, decrease your weight and may reduce your stroke risk. Start slowly and discuss your physical activity goals with your provider. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days of the week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three days a week. Talk to your provider about a plan that will work best for your particular health needs and lifestyle.

YVM and Kohl's Cares want you to be healthy for life and have teamed up to bring you Healthy For Life, a program dedicated to bring you exercise and cooking classes at NO CHARGE!

Poor nutrition

A diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke. Avoid foods high in fats, salt and calories. A healthy diet can also help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol, which will help to decrease your risk of stroke. YVM’s Cardiovascular Rehabilitation & Wellness Department offers Heart Health education classes to the public each month. Popular nutrition classes include: Appetite Control, DASH Diet, Dietary Portion Control, Mediterranean Diet and Recipe Modification. See the current schedule of topics here.

High blood cholesterol

People with high blood cholesterol have an increased risk for stroke because cholesterol can build up in the blood vessels and slow the movement of blood. High blood cholesterol can be reduced by proper nutrition and routine physical activity. Medication may also be required to control cholesterol levels.