Emergency & In-Hospital Treatments
If you or a loved one arrives in the emergency department with symptoms of stroke or another neurologic condition, El Camino Health's expert care team will respond with lifesaving speed and expertise.
Our team won't waste a second. Specialists are on hand 24/7 to promptly diagnose and treat your condition. You'll receive thorough diagnostic testing, such as a CT scan, blood flow exam or a test to examine electrical activity in the brain (EEG). A neurologist will examine you to determine the best treatment plan. In some instances, a specialist may perform a neurointerventional procedure to remove or dissolve a clot.
Beyond the Emergency Department
After urgent care, you may undergo further testing or procedures at the hospital, such as a CT angiogram (an imaging exam). This test is used to evaluate blood flow to the brain and diagnose brain aneurysms and other disorders, such as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
Once doctors stabilize your condition, you'll be admitted to either the critical care unit or the stroke/telemetry unit, which has advanced monitoring equipment. During your hospital stay, you'll receive care from a diverse team of specialists, including stroke-certified nurses and case managers to guide you, answer treatment questions, or arrange social services and other assistance as needed.
Medical Therapies for Stroke and Other Conditions
Therapies for different types of stroke or other neurologic conditions vary widely. Doctors may use a combination of medications and therapies to minimize damage to the brain. Techniques include:
- Thrombolytic (clot-dissolving) medication. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only FDA-approved drug to treat ischemic stroke. It can dissolve artery-blocking brain clots if given within a few hours of stroke. When it's given within three or four hours of a stroke, tPA can prevent or reduce brain damage.
- Neuroprotective medications. Experts are studying protective medications that may help your brain prevent damage due to blocked blood flow. El Camino Health's Stroke Center participates in these and other leading-edge clinical trials offered through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Our research helps find ways to reduce stroke risk and damage, and keeps us on the forefront of neurological breakthroughs.
- Hypothermia (low body temperature). In some instances, treatment that lowers your body temperature may help limit stroke-related brain damage. For example, studies indicate this therapy can be effective for individuals who’ve had a heart attack that’s followed by a stroke.
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners). Doctors may use specific types of heparin as emergency blood thinners for some conditions, such as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT), a rare cause of stroke that affects veins rather than arteries.
- Neurointerventional procedures. In some instances, a highly skilled neurointerventionist will place a thin, flexible catheter into the affected blood vessel to remove the clot or dissolve it using medicine. El Camino Health has specialized neurointerventional expertise.