UI Health Patient Arrives for Eye Appointment, Gets Treated for Stroke

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

UI Health Patient Arrives for Eye Appointment and Gets Treated for Stroke
Patient Mary McGee alongside Stroke Team members Louie Deveza (front), Sonia Haro (from left), Lilia Sta. Ana, Beata Majka, Marissa Ledesma, Gisella Sangalang, Neema Patel, Lolita Fagaragan.

Members of the UI Health Ophthalmology Team were critical to a patient receiving prompt stroke treatment at recently.

The patient had an eye appointment at the Ear & Eye Infirmary on March 15. At the appointment, the technician noticed that the patient was having difficulty following commands and was not displaying the usual level of alertness, and the tech notified the physician.

The physician noticed the patient had slurred speech and was displaying left-sided weakness — both signs of stroke — and called 911. The emergency responder then brought the patient to the Emergency Department, where stroke protocols began.

At UI Health, coordinated stroke protocols result in door-to-treatment times that exceed national benchmarks, ensuring every stroke patient receives immediate, life-saving care.

The patient’s “last known well” — the time prior to hospital arrival at which the patient was last known to be without the signs and symptoms of the current stroke — was 11:30 am.

She arrived at the ED at 12:06 pm. There, Dr. Neelofer Shafi, the stroke neurologist, and her team evaluated the patient and rapidly determined the patient's symptoms were caused by clot that had occluded one of the large arteries in the brain.

At 1:07 pm, Dr. Ali Alaraj, a UI Health neurosurgeon, began a thrombectomy to remove the clot that was causing the stroke.

Blood flow to the vessel was restored at 3 pm.

“If there was any breakdown in the chain — from calling 911, to the care she received in the ED, to activating the stroke team, the patient may have been outside the window for any intervention,” says Melissa Angulo, a stroke nurse practitioner at UI Health. “Because Dr. Alaraj and his interventional radiology team removed the clot, he was able to save the injured part of her brain.”

Following treatment, the patient’s NIHSS score — which rates the severity of stroke — dropped from 11 to 6. The patient worked with the Physical and Occupational Therapy teams here, and then was transferred to Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital for more acute therapy.

Thank you to our Ophthalmology and Stroke care teams for their collaborative efforts in recognizing the signs of stroke and working together to promptly treat the patient.