Telephone: 0191 282 6041
Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen and the better their recovery.
The Royal Victoria Infirmary has a hyper acute stroke unit (Ward 41), sometimes referred to as a HASU. The unit is specially designed to ensure that every patient we see receives the high standards of treatment and care as quickly as possible.
We assess around 1,900 suspected stroke cases a year and over 800 transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) known as mini strokes.
What happens if you have a stroke?
If you think you or someone else has stroke symptoms call 999. Ambulance paramedics are trained in stroke and will take you to the best hospital for specialist treatment. Anyone living in Newcastle and Gateshead who has a stroke will come to the RVI.
When you first arrive you will need to have tests to confirm that you have had a stroke and make sure you receive the right emergency treatment. The quicker your stroke is diagnosed and treated, the better your recovery will be.
Brain scans and tests
Doctors carry out tests to confirm the stroke. They also carry out tests and checks for health problems that could cause a stroke, such as high blood pressure. They give treatment for these conditions to reduce the chances of having another stroke.
You should have a brain scan quickly after symptoms start, if possible; within an hour of arriving at hospital. The scan can show whether the stroke is due to a clot or a bleed. There are two main types of scan used:
- a computed tomography or CT scan
- a magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan
The results of your brain scan will help your doctors to identify what may have caused your stroke and ensure you get the right emergency treatment.
Hyper acute stroke unit
Within our 26 bedded stroke unit, a team of stroke specialist nurses run an assessment bay.
The specialist nurses triage paramedic pre alerts along with other referrals and arrange direct admission to the HASU. From here we:
- provide rapid specialist assessment
- arrange urgent brain imaging, for example CT scan, CT angiogram and MRI scan in less than one hour of arrival where appropriate
- initiate urgent tests, such as bloods, ECG
- give 24/7 access to thrombolysis (“clot busting”) treatment for ischaemic strokes who arrive in less than four and a half hours of the stroke
- carry out mechanical thrombectomy – where the clot in the brain is surgically removed