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Healthy Living

Surviving a Stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer, but it’s the leading cause of disability. A stroke involves a clot or blockage to the brain. This can damage parts of the brain that you need to speak, walk and remember things.

The key to surviving a stroke is receiving a fast diagnosis and the right treatment, explains Jeffrey Kim, M.D. a neurologist with the Torrance Memorial Physician Network.

“In the acute phase, it is very important to quickly assess for stroke, and determine whether the patient is a candidate for early interventions,” says Dr. Kim. “These include intravenous tPA (a clot busting medication) as well as catheter-based clot retrieval by our terrific team of neuro-interventionalists.”

Thanks to Torrance Memorial’s TeleStroke Program, patients are being assessed, diagnosed and treated faster and more effectively than ever before.

“Through TeleStroke, the video-conferencing technology will enable specialists at Cedars-Sinai to communicate with Torrance Memorial’s ER team to examine the patient, interpret brain images, confirm the diagnosis and provide recommendations just as if they were at the bedside,” says Bernard Ullman, M.D., Medical Director, Stroke Program Torrance Memorial Medical Center. “We are pleased to offer this collaboration to our community.”

It’s just one more reason why Torrance Memorial is the only hospital in the city of Torrance awarded The Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction as a Primary Stroke Center. It’s one of only eleven stroke centers in all of Los Angeles County.

How to Recognize Stroke Symptoms

If you or someone you care about suffers the subtle symptoms of a stroke such as a facial droop, numbness, tingling, dizziness, vision problems or a severe headache call 911 immediately and note the exact time the symptoms began.

“Most people wait too long to call 911. They wait a day to see if their symptoms get better but we can do so much for you in that first hour, called the Golden Hour,” says Ed Nazareth, R.N., of Torrance Memorial Medical Center. “If you get here within the golden hour you will be seen by a physician within 10 minutes of arrival. You will get a CAT scan of your brain and blood tests so stroke specialists can confirm if you’re having a stroke.”

Rehabilitation after a Stroke

Once a stroke victim is stable, rehabilitation begins immediately. “We have physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to help patients regain their abilities,” says Ed. “Some patients go home and come to us one or two hours a week for rehab. Some patients receive therapy at home. Others need an acute rehab program.”

If you’d like to speak with a neurologist, please contact Jeffery Kim, M.D., Torrance Memorial Physician Network, 3400 Lomita Blvd. Torrance. 310-517-7021. Dr. Kim accepts THIPA patients.