Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix discusses stroke, treatment

May 18, 2023, 6:12 AM | Updated: May 19, 2023, 1:58 pm

(Facebook Photo/Barrow Neurological Institute)...

(Facebook Photo/Barrow Neurological Institute)

(Facebook Photo/Barrow Neurological Institute)

PHOENIX — KTAR’s community spotlight this month focuses on a Valley stroke center warning residents that strokes can happen to anyone.

May is stroke awareness month, and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix is working to educate people about what to look for when someone is experiencing a stroke.

Several years ago, KTAR News’ Dan Beach — known across the Valley as Detour Dan — was treated by Barrow Neurological Institute after he survived a stroke while at the radio station. Since then, he’s been teaching those around him what it means to “Be Fast.”

Balance (sudden loss of balance), Eyes (double or loss of vision), Face (drooping on one side of the face,) Arm (weakness in arm or leg), Speech (slurred or garbled speech), Time (time to call 911), explained Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, vascular neurologist at Barrow.

“What it comes down to is if you have problems in any of these areas, the goal is to be as fast as possible and call 911 to seek out stroke treatment,” Gonzalez said.

“Dan was up here moving around, his arm wasn’t weak, but his speech was impaired and that’s his livelihood so when we had the opportunity to treat him we did so without question.”

It’s important to remember that while strokes are common among people ages 60 and older, about 30% of patients at the local stroke center are in a younger age group, according to stroke neurologist David Wang.

“High blood pressure is the number one killer. It causes not only the stroke but also heart attacks so, therefore, we say that that is one risk factor we need to really aggressively manage,” Wang said.

The advancement of stroke treatment has dramatically changed since 2015, Gonzalez explained.

Endovascular surgeons are now trained to remove clots to help improve outcomes, there are clot-busting medications available and the institute has a mobile stroke unit that takes advanced imaging of the brain, allowing doctors to make an accurate diagnosis.

Recovery doesn’t stop at treatment centers.

“The patient is highly involved in their own recovery, specifically when it comes down to physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, required to bring the brain back to the former sense of normalcy,” Gonzalez said.

“So the patient is put in a rigorous physical therapy schedule and speech therapy schedule that allows them to work through and obtain goals on a very incremental, slow basis, but over the course of 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.”

Barrow is also aggressively working to educate the Hispanic community about the acronym “RAPIDO.”

Rapido, which translates to “fast” in Spanish, covers all of the warning signs of a stroke to be on the lookout for and is synonymous with Be Fast.

It stands for Rostro (caido), alteración (del equilibrio), pérdida (de fuerza en un brazo o pierna), impedimento (visual), dificultado (para hablar) and obtenga (ayuda rapido, llama al 911).

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Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix discusses stroke, treatment