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St. David's HealthCare Launches The TIA Center for Stroke Prevention at St. David's Medical Center
Date:10/27/2008

Designed to Reduce the Risk of a Subsequent Stroke

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- St. David's HealthCare today announced the launch of The TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) Center for Stroke Prevention at St. David's Medical Center -- the first of its kind in Central Texas -- in an effort to reduce the significant risk of a subsequent stroke after TIA.

A TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce a patient's risk of a major stroke.

"We've developed a timely and seamless clinical protocol to manage Transient Ischemic Attacks, to promote patient education and, ultimately, to prevent a subsequent full-blown stroke," Kent Ellington, M.D., medical director for St. David's Medical Center's Stroke Program, said. "Recent studies show an 18 to 25 percent incidence of stroke following a TIA, with half of the strokes occurring within the first 48 hours; this clearly illustrates the need to identify the patient's risk factors, monitor them and educate them on healthy lifestyle changes ahead of time."

TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery, and as a result, part of the brain does not get the blood it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time, usually less than five minutes. Unlike a stroke, when a TIA is over, there is no permanent injury to the brain, with symptoms dissipating quickly.

The TIA Center for Stroke Prevention at St. David's Medical Center, housed within the existing facility, will offer a new approach to assessing and treating patients suffering from a TIA. When a patient visits the emergency room with symptoms of TIA, they will immediately be scored to determine stroke risk. A TIA protocol will be initiated with a standardized, cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment pathway completed within a short period of time. Fifty to 70 percent of patients with TIA will remain in the hospital for less than 24 hours. The TIA Center will also focus on patient and caregiver education.

Approximately 80 percent of strokes are preventable. The most important treatable factors linked to TIAs and stroke are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, carotid artery disease, diabetes and elevated cholesterol.

"Time is of the essence for TIA and stroke. Timely and standardized clinical protocols support better care," Cory Jones, M.D., emergency director of St. David's Medical Center, said. "TIAs are extremely important predictors of stroke; urgent assessment and immediate initiation of aggressive therapies after a TIA substantially reduce the risk of a fatal or disabling stroke."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the number one cause of adult disability. Stroke kills more than 150,000 Americans a year. About 780,000 Americans each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. On average, that means a stroke occurs every 40 seconds.

Symptoms of a TIA include:

-- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

-- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one

side of the body.

-- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.

-- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

-- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

The short duration of these symptoms and lack of permanent brain injury is the main difference between TIA and a stroke. If an individual experiences any of these symptoms, even for a short period of time, that person should seek immediate medical attention.

St. David's Medical Center

Since 1924, St. David's Medical Center has provided quality medical care to the residents of Central Texas. Conveniently located in central Austin at 32nd Street and IH-35, St. David's Medical Center provides comprehensive care with special expertise in neurology and neurosurgery, cardiac services, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, maternity and newborn services and rehabilitation. The medical center includes St. David's Hospital (acute care) and St. David's Rehabilitation Center (physical medicine and rehabilitation). For more information, please visit http://www.StDavids.com/sdmc.aspx

St. David's Medical Center is home to The NeuroTexas Institute, and its purposes are to support the very highest standards of patient care, to engage in ongoing clinical research to advance the field of neurosciences, and, in the future, to support physician education and training in related specialties. Building upon a strong foundation in neurosciences at St. David's HealthCare, the Institute's vision is to provide comprehensive care across the full continuum of neurological conditions including spinal disorders, brain tumors, neurovascular disorders, as well as functional disorders.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Kristin Marcum or Erin Ochoa

Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations

512.472.9599


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SOURCE St. David's HealthCare
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