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What can I expect at the hospital if I am having a stroke?

If you suspect you are having a stroke, dial 911 immediately. After you call 911 and help arrives, the emergency response team in the ambulance and at the hospital or clinic will work to stabilize and monitor your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing. Next, physicians and other members of the healthcare team will order tests, such as a CT scan or MRI to make the diagnosis.

If your doctor determines that you had a stroke, he or she must quickly determine if the stroke was ischemic (caused by a blockage) or hemorrhagic (caused by bleeding). If the stroke is caused by bleeding on the brain, it is possible that you may need surgery to treat the bleeding.

It will also be important for the doctor to figure out how long ago the stroke occurred because a stroke that happened within the last three hours is most effectively treated by opening up the blockage that caused the stroke. The blockage is opened with medication, or through a catheter-based procedure, an angioplasty. The treatment will be different depending on the type of stroke as well as your unique circumstances, such as your age and other risk factors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.