Five Rivers Medical Center is one of 44 hospitals in the state that affiliate with UAMS for the AR SAVES (Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) stroke assistance program. With the partnership in place, FRMC can access on-call neurologists at UAMS 24/7 to evaluate potential stroke patients and order the clot busting drug (t-PA) for administration to halt stroke activity and reduce damage to the body. The medicine works best if it is given right away after stroke symptoms begin (within 3 hours). Strict criteria must be met in order to use the medicine. The medicine can be used to prevent disability after a stroke. The person and/or family members need to provide as much information as possible about what symptoms the person had and when they began. This helps determine whether giving t-PA would be helpful. If it has been too long since the symptoms started, the medicine is unlikely to benefit the person. Other strict criteria also must be met before the medicine can be given. “AR Saves allows our rural community to benefit from the same care as they would receive at UAMS”, according to Dr. Scott Lewis, “several of our residents have greatly benefitted from having the care they needed right here at FRMC. Due to the time limited restrictions on qualifying to receive the t-PA, it is imperative that the stroke patient gets to a hospital to receive care as quickly as possible”. Follow-up care is a key part of treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It is also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of all your medications close at hand.
Article written and submitted by Paula Lewis RNP, ER Trauma and AR Saves Coordinator