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how quickly does a stroke happen?

(21 Posts)
Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 21:26:15

i'm asking because we have a campaign here atm called FAST (face, arms, speech, time). it says the quicker you act (call 999) when you see one of those signs the more of the person you save. i always thought a stroke was something that happened very quickly and this as has confused me. it seems to be saying that there is a chance of ambulance getting there in time to halt the stroke? is this right? i really thought a storke was over in a matter of a few minutes.

cravingcake Tue 29-Jan-13 21:41:08

The stroke itself is normally quick but the sooner its treated the better the outcome for the person who had the stroke. Drugs can be given within a couple of hours that can reverse or halt the effects. If later than that then they have less chance of working as well.

cravingcake Tue 29-Jan-13 21:44:34

Should add that there are two types of stroke, one being caused by a blood clot in the brain, the other by a hemorage (sp). The drugs act differently (either to clot or thin the blood) so the sooner the type of stroke is determined the sooner the person can be helped.

LittleChimneyDroppings Tue 29-Jan-13 21:48:19

A stroke can happen very quickly. But in the case of my husband who had one a few years ago, I noticed very very quickly. The ambulance arrived in record time and the whole time process, from having the stroke, to being in hospital, was no more than 25 minutes. Dh continued his recovery in hospital with access to medical staff, equipment and the drugs that were needed. It saved his life and he pretty much made a full recovery.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 21:50:03

thank you craving, that really does help. i know nothing (as if you hadn't guessed) about strokes so it helps to know why the advice is as in the ad campaign. i didn'tr know any of that.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 21:52:24

xposting. thank you little chimney. 25 minutes seems like a long time to me but i suppose it depends how far you live from hospital.

cravingcake Tue 29-Jan-13 21:53:31

I only know a small amount as my father had a stroke a few years ago and lives on the other side of the world so read up as much as i could to try to understand. He has made a full recovery thanks to my mum getting him to a doctor asap so time really is the key thing.

LittleChimneyDroppings Tue 29-Jan-13 22:35:03

I thought it was amazingly quick, from me identifying dh having a stroke, to calling 999, to the paramedics then driving here, getting dh down the stairs and loading him into the ambulance, and then getting him up on to the ward. 25 mins from start of stroke to lying in a bed on MAU surrounded by medical staff. It couldn't have been any quicker. Hospital is about 6 miles away.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 22:41:49

yes, when you break it all down into all the steps that happened it is quite quick and i suppose it didn't feel that long while you were actually going through it (except maybe waiting for the ambulance).

PureQuintessence Tue 29-Jan-13 22:48:45

Sometimes being quick does not help.

My fathers stroke was still in progress when we called the ambulance. He just dropped his cup of coffee twice, as he was lifting it to take a sip. The first time we thought "how clumsy". The second time we thought "how strange" and I called an ambulance. He walked out into the ambulance, and walked in to hospital. That was the last time he walked.

It was Christmas holidays. They decided not to disturb the on call neurologist, but wait until after the new year.

angry angry Fuckers.

Sorry for the rant.

LittleChimneyDroppings Tue 29-Jan-13 22:49:59

The whole thing actually felt like a lifetime. Time really slowed down. The 25 minutes felt like about 4 hours. It was very bizarre. Its probably because so much was packed into such a short space of time, with no prior warning of what was about to suddenly happen.

LittleChimneyDroppings Tue 29-Jan-13 22:51:04

Thats really shite Pure. I'm sorry.

Booyhoo Tue 29-Jan-13 23:02:49


pure so sorry your dad had such awful care!

yes chimney i can understand that feeling. i had to call an ambulance for a car accident i came upon once and it felt like i was there an hour before they arrived, it was actually 6 minutes.

gp8 Tue 29-Jan-13 23:53:53

My mum had a stroke [bleed to the brain]. She had over-powering head ache and cried out for help. It was very sudden. Ambulance called and arrived very promptly. Mum still conscious just. Deteriorated quickly, not responding in the ambulance. Scan showed massive damage to the left side of the brain. She died 4 days later.

Was , and is just unbelievably sad.

Booyhoo Wed 30-Jan-13 00:05:37

so sorry gp8.

PureQuintessence Wed 30-Jan-13 08:42:28

Sorry gp8. It is a cruel illness.

WheresMyCow Wed 30-Jan-13 08:53:25

As others have said, the sooner that you know it's happened and call 999 the better the chances are for the person.

My Dad had a massive stroke in January last year. My mum realised it was happening pretty much as soon as it happened, my brother rang for the ambulance and he was in the hospital 8 miles away having scans/treatment within an hour. He was still having the stroke when he got there and the medication helped.

He still can't talk or use his right hand side and is in a nursing home now as there is too much care involved for him to be at home. However, he is still with us and if my mum and brother hadn't realised and acted so quickly he probably wouldn't be.

PureQuintessence Wed 30-Jan-13 09:11:28

My dad had a clot. It starved parts of his brain for oxygen, so those brain-cells died. Had they given blood thinning medicine his recovery might have been better.

But, they did the scan, and then we had to wait a couple of days for the scans to be interpreted. By then it was too late.

My dad was 74 and I was pregnant with our first at the time. My mum chose to have their home adapted for a disabled wheel chair user, as she could not bring her self to even think about a nursing home. She would not hear of it, insisting to be his carer. She had the toilet rebuilt, got special adaptations to their bedroom, got a lift installed to the first floor balcony (Norwegian homes usually have the main living quarters on the first floor) so he could come in and out. But the ground floor and second floor of the house would be beyond his limits, as adaptations to the stairs were impossible and he not fit to use normal stair lift.

She refused to believe he would not recover.

When he came home, 6 months later, he was a shadow of himself, he could not even swallow, and had to be tube fed direct to his stomach several times per day. He was not even conscious of needing a wee, or poo. My mum was knackered. She was a petit woman, and my dad a tall giant of nearly 1.80, and she struggled to handle him. He needed several operations to his esophagus. He also nearly died after he had been out for 3 months. Turns out he had been having a bleeding stomach ulcer, and was nearly empty of blood, but nobody had realized. So he had several transfusions. This was October. He has no recollection of events between the stroke on the 27th December, and October the following year. No recollection of his 75th birthday, when my oldest son was born either. He started getting his memory back after his last blood transfusion.
That is when recovery really started.

Today he lives alone in his adapted home. Mum is in a nursing home, she has levy body dementia, and got so bad I had to have her committed, 2 years ago now.

It has been 10 years and he is now 85, and in these 10 years he has continued to recover. He has mastered his new life, and adapted. He can manage living alone, sorting out food, making breakfast and supper. He goes to day care twice a week, and visits my mum at the nursing home. He is picking red currants in the garden, he reads his papers, enjoys using the internet, and still has friends visiting. He cannot walk, but he has his wheelchair and he has the use of one arm, his short term memory is not working very well, but he is still a sharp and intelligent man, he can talk and carry reasonable discussions.

The human brain is fantastic. Even with severe damage it is possible to recover and have reasonably good life.

jojane Wed 30-Jan-13 09:14:44

I read something a leading doctor said, that if you can recognise its a stroke and get That person to hospital and given the right treatment they should make a full recovery.

lougle Wed 30-Jan-13 10:13:05

There are two types of stroke: Hemorrhagic strokes and Ischemic strokes. The cause of both types of stroke can develop over time.

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot, air bubble or foreign body such as plaque blocking a blood vessel and preventing oxygen from circulating. In that case, the clot can initially be really tiny and build up to the point where they occlude the vessel.

Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a vessel leaking blood and that blood presses on the surrounding brain. The weakness forms, or sometimes an aneurysm is present from birth, and it finally 'gives'.

However, the 'stroke' is actually the effect of the clot or the bleed, and that has two phases - the initial 'insult' and the prologned effects. So, if you recognise the initial insult - the sudden symptoms that the FAST campaign alerts you to, then you can try and minimise the prolonged effects.

For instance, if there is a clot, if the clot can be dissolved within minutes, then that part of the brain has only been deprived of oxygen for a few minutes, rather than forever or hours.

It's similar to giving rescue breaths during cardiac arrest. If someone has a reversible cause of cardiac arrest, then rescue breaths can keep the body oxygenated until the medics can restore the function of the heart. If you can get medical treatment fast, then the effects of the clot/bleed are minimised.

digerd Wed 30-Jan-13 13:59:20

My 84 year-old neighbour had a very mild stroke, which suddenly without any warning, caused her words coming out of mouth to be "gobblyguk". She lives alone but was lucky a friend had called very early when it happened. The friend phone 999, but the ambulence waited outside for 30 mintes - so I assumed it was nothing urgent. She had no other symptoms.
At the hospital she had her L Carotid - side of neck- artery cleaned out of all deposits on the walls. That was a year ago and she's fine now.

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