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How Neurocritical Care Improves Stroke Outcome and Recovery

How Neurocritical Care Improves Stroke Outcome and Recovery

Stroke is a circulatory system disease affecting the arteries leading into the brain and those contained within it. In the United States, it’s the fifth-leading cause of death and a major cause of disability.

Arteries are the blood vessels that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the body’s tissues, including those in the brain. If they become blocked, by plaque build-up or a clot, or if they rupture (burst), the brain area they serve starves, and brain cells die. This is known as a stroke.

Dr. Scott Glickman at Center for Neurosurgery Las Vegas is a board-certified neurosurgeon with a specialization in neurocritical care, a subspecialty that provides intensive care management of serious neurological issues such as stroke. As many patients aren’t aware of how neurocritical care works, he’s taking this opportunity to discuss how it can improve stroke outcomes.

Three kinds of strokes

Strokes are classified into three different types:

1. Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

TIAs are also called a warning or ministroke. They occur when an artery becomes temporarily blocked, leading to stroke symptoms but not permanent brain damage. TIAs still require emergency medical care, as they’re often the precursor to a major stroke.

2. Ischemic stroke

Ischemic strokes account for about 87% of all strokes, occurring when a blood clot fully blocks an artery and prevents blood from flowing to the brain. The clot often develops due to atherosclerosis, colloquially called “hardening of the arteries,” where a fatty plaque forms on the blood vessel’s inner lining, narrowing the conduit. Unlike a TIA, though, the clot causing an ischemic stroke won’t go away unless you receive treatment.

3. Hemorrhagic stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when one of the brain’s blood vessels leaks blood into the surrounding tissues or ruptures. It results from one of three conditions:

  1. Aneurysm: section of a weakened vessel balloons outward and can rupture
  2. Arteriovenous malformation: blood vessels have an abnormal structure, making a rupture more likely
  3. High blood pressure: weakens smallest blood vessels, which then bleed into the brain

Knowing your risk factors (e.g., high blood pressure, carotid artery disease) can help you prevent a stroke from occurring by taking preventive measures.

Neurocritical care for stroke

Depending on the severity of the stroke and the parts of the brain that are affected, you can expect symptoms such as speech deficits, visual deficits, confusion, paralysis of various body parts, and difficulty understanding language, among others. You’ll need treatment as soon as possible, and you’ll likely need extensive rehabilitation.

That’s where neurocritical care comes in. It’s a hospital-based service that provides intensive care management of these serious neurological problems in a dedicated unit that includes 24-hour monitoring and access to a team of providers who specialize in neurological conditions and the ICU setting..

What happens during neurocritical care varies, depending on your exact diagnosis and overall health. Dr. Glickman develops an individualized treatment plan with specific treatments and goals.

The doctor works closely with the entire neurocritical care team, including:

This way, he ensures you receive all the treatments and therapies necessary to improve your condition.

Once you’re stable, Dr. Glickman moves you to a regular hospital bed. If you need continuing therapy, he’ll refer you to an in-patient rehab facility; if not, he’ll send you home, with follow-up appointments for monitoring and additional therapy.

If you or a loved one is at risk for stroke, you need to come into Center for Neurosurgery Las Vegas for an evaluation with Dr. Glickman. And if you’re having symptoms of a stroke, Dr. Glickman can evaluate and treat you through the hospital’s neurocritical care unit to ensure the best outcome possible. To learn more, or to schedule, call our office at 702-929-8242, text us at 725-210-0057, or book your appointment online.

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