After You Call 911
An ambulance will arrive on the scene, and medics will gather as much information about you as possible. This means asking questions about what is happening, and when did it all start. They will ask about other medical problems you may have, medications, who is your doctor, etc.
The medics also will make sure you are properly placed in the ambulance and do a physical examination. They will take your vital signs, and may check your heart with an EKG. They can draw blood, and sometimes give certain kinds of medications. The “clot breaking drug” cannot be given in an ambulance. The ambulance will call the ER so they can be ready for you.
At the Emergency Room
When you arrive at the ER, doctors and nurses will ask you a lot of the same questions. This is important, because when things happen fast, it can be hard to remember everything, and things will come to mind the longer you have to think about them, and the more ways a question is asked. This is also a good way to see if your speech is OK or if you are getting confused.
You will have a more detailed examination, and get an EKG and blood drawn if it has not already been done. You will also get a CT scan of your brain. This is quick, painless, and can tell immediately if your stroke is ischemic (caused by a blockage), or bleeding (remember, up to 20% of all strokes are caused by bleeding). A doctor, or team of doctors, will decide if you need to be admitted for stroke treatment or a more detailed evaluation, or if you can go home.
If you are admitted, you will be treated for your stroke, and for the medical problems that may have led to your stroke. You will also have a few other tests done to try to find the cause of your stroke and try to prevent it from happening again. This can include ultrasounds on your arteries or heart, or different types of brain scanning or blood tests. You will also start different kinds of therapy to help you get better or stronger.
After this, you will either go home, to a rehabilitation unit to get better before you go home, or other arrangements will be made to best suit your needs. You will also need to see your doctor.
Learn more about stroke treatments.