Time Is of the Essence When Treating Stroke

Dr. Randall Higashida is chief of the division of neuro interventional radiology at UCSF. This branch of medicine treats neurovascular disorders, including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, potentially fatal conditions that affect millions annually. An ischemic stroke is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. It’s the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the primary cause of adult disability. But there is hope if someone suffering from a stroke gets treatment quickly.

“In terms of treatment, you can think of a stroke as a ‘brain attack,’ like a heart attack. And we’ve learned that, much like a heart attack, if an ischemic stroke is treated within 6-8 hours at a specialized treatment facility, there’s a dramatic improvement in outcome,” says Dr. Higashida.

Dr. Higashida’s team uses imaging tools for many minimally invasive procedures that can treat and manage stroke, and limit future damage.  

“The new standard of care for patients who present with a stroke is to seek medical attention immediately, preferable at a hospital that can treat stroke with endovascular techniques,” Dr. Higashida points out.  

UCSF is a major referral center for all types of strokes and diseases affecting the brain, head, neck, and spine.

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