(Fairfax, VA, Tuesday, July 21, 2020) – As the nation deals with a historic pandemic, stroke surgeons with the Get Ahead of Stroke campaign are warning Americans about the risk of disability or death for individuals who ignore stroke symptoms or postpone calling 911.  A recent study shows that stroke patients have been delaying treatment due to COVID-19 concerns, and doctors are witnessing severe consequences.

The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) says every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Nearly 20% — 140,000 annually — die from their condition, and many more are left permanently disabled.

In the case of the most serious strokes — known as an Emergent Large Vessel Occlusions (ELVO) — up to two million brain cells die each minute. The longer a patient waits before they are treated, the greater the impact the stroke will have — potentially paralyzing them for life or worse. Ultimately, every minute of delay before a patient receives stroke care will mean an extra week of recovery.

Individuals should use the FAST method to assess any potential symptoms in themselves or their loved ones — Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call 911. This is especially important if you’ve already experienced COVID-19 or the flu. Flu can increase your odds of having a stroke by almost 40% — and that added risk remains for a full year. Flu-like illnesses also are linked to an increased risk of stroke and neck artery dissections.

Get Ahead of Stroke is a national public education and advocacy campaign designed to improve systems of care for stroke patients. Founded in 2016 by the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS), the campaign is supported by a coalition of organizations with the goal of securing the best possible outcomes for stroke patients by driving policy change and public awareness nationwide.

The Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) is a scientific and educational association dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurointerventional surgery through research, standard-setting, and education and advocacy to provide the highest quality of patient care in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, spine, head and neck.

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