BANGOR — May is National Stroke Awareness Month and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is making important strides in stroke treatment by providing 24/7 neurological assessments, advanced imaging technology (including vascular and perfusion imaging), and thrombolytic medicine also known as clot busters.

EMMC now also offers endovascular services such as mechanical thrombectomy. A thrombectomy is an innovative surgical procedure used to remove blood clots from arteries and veins. Blood clots can disrupt the normal flow of blood to a part of the body, causing life-threatening conditions such as an acute stroke. “Our multidisciplinary team provides patient care from stroke prevention to rehabilitation,” shares Tarek Wazzan, MD, interim stroke medical director.  

The main symptoms of a stroke are (BEFAST) sudden onset of Balance difficulties, Eye or trouble with vision, Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech or swallowing difficulties, and Time to call 911. If people quickly seek help, they could receive treatment to minimize the effects of a stroke.

“It’s important that people quickly recognize stroke symptoms and call 911. Our emergency department stroke team will be ready for you.” shares Angela Wheelden, BSN, RN, SCRN, stroke program manager.

“Northern Light Health is committed to providing the best stroke care. The new addition of neuroendovascular services is a key part of the goal to improve the lives and outcomes of our stroke patients who trust us with their care,” explains Rudy Marciano, MD, endovascular neurosurgeon. “The addition of mechanical thrombectomy and neuroendovascular aneurysm treatment capabilities offers patients state of the art stroke treatments right here in Maine.” 

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the US suffers a stroke every 40 seconds.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is a recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized guidelines.

Northern Light EMMC earned the award, which it has done for the past nine years, by meeting specific quality measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. These measures include the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines to speed recovery and reduce death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients receive education on managing their health, getting a follow-up visit scheduled and other care transition interventions.