How will doctors know you’ve had a stroke?

Compared to the rest of your body parts, the brain uses more oxygen than most. If an area of the brain is deprived of oxygen for longer than a few minutes, the cells start to die. This causes permanent, irreversible brain damage, and it’s why strokes are one of the most common causes of death and long-term disability in the U.S. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, we believe that even one death from a stroke is one too many. Our Emergency Room and stroke care teams are committed to saving the lives of our neighbors in Thousand Oaks.

Signs and symptoms of stroke
As soon as a possible stroke patient arrives in the Emergency Room, he or she undergoes a rapid diagnostic process.

Every second counts when treating strokes, but it’s also essential to provide the right type of treatment. Blood clot-busting drugs, for example, aren’t given to patients having a hemorrhagic stroke, which involves bleeding on the brain. You can hear more about how we diagnose a stroke by watching the accompanying video.

First, the Emergency Room team will assess your signs and symptoms. Stroke causes the sudden onset of severe symptoms , including the following:

  • One-sided weakness, numbness or paralysis
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness
  • Problems walking/loss of coordination
  • Excruciating headache with no apparent cause

Physical and neurological exam
Next, the stroke care team will review your medical history, and perform physical and neurological exams. Specifically, they will assess these areas:

  • Consciousness
  • Speech
  • Gait
  • Language processing
  • Mental status
  • Motor strength
  • Sensation

During this assessment, the doctor will ask you to complete some simple tasks, such as holding out both arms in front of you, answering questions and recalling information.

Imaging tests
One or more imaging tests can help the stroke care team make a definitive diagnosis. You may have any of the following tests:

  • Computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Carotid ultrasound
  • Carotid angiography

As soon as a diagnosis is made, medical intervention begins.

Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center has been certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center—the first of its kind in Ventura County. Our hard-working Emergency Room team is proud to make a difference for the families in our Thousand Oaks community. Please call 911 without delay if you think you’re having a stroke, or call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 for non-emergent inquiries only.