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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of your brain is blocked. The blockage is usually caused by a blood clot that gets stuck in a narrow blood vessel. When oxygen cannot get to an area of the brain, tissue in that area may get damaged. The damage can cause loss of body functions controlled by that area of the brain.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- CT or MRI pictures may show where the stroke happened and any damage you have. You may be given contrast liquid to help your skull and brain show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
- An arteriography is used to take x-rays of your arteries to look for blood flow blockage.
- Blood tests may be needed while you are being treated for your stroke. These tests can tell healthcare providers if you are getting the right amount of medicine.
- A carotid ultrasound uses sound waves to show the blood flow in your carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are blood vessels in your neck that carry blood to your brain. A carotid ultrasound checks for narrow or blocked carotid arteries.
- A swallow study is used to take x-rays as you swallow certain foods and drinks. This test shows if food and liquids travel to your stomach correctly.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- A neuro exam may show how well your brain works after a stroke. Healthcare providers will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
- A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.
- An ICP monitor measures the pressure inside your skull. A small tube is put through your skull and connected to a screen.
- Antiplatelets , such as aspirin, help prevent blood clots. Take your antiplatelet medicine exactly as directed. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Thrombolytics help break apart clots. These medicines make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Other medicines may be given to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. You may also need medicine to decrease pain, reduce brain pressure, or prevent seizures.
- You may need to wear pressure stockings or inflatable boots. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
- Therapy can help you recover speech and movement abilities. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities. A speech therapist helps you with speaking and safe swallowing skills. You will continue rehabilitation therapy after you leave the hospital.
- A feeding tube may be needed if you cannot swallow food or liquids.
- Surgery may be needed to remove the clot. You may also need surgery to widen arteries or to place a filter into a blood vessel. This surgery helps to improve blood flow and prevent clots.
Even with treatment, you may have lasting problems talking, thinking, or moving your body.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.