YOUR HEALTH: Buying you valuable time after a stroke

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Sylvia Novier and her husband had just returned from a trip.   As she was telling her daughter about it over the phone, she thought she heard the phone ring at the same time.

"I'm trying to figure out who's calling me while I'm talking to my daughter, but nothing is connecting."

Her husband watched helplessly, terrified by watching what was happening to her.

"He brought me into the den and said I think you're having a stroke and I couldn't understand why he would think I was having a stroke."

Sylvia asked for a drink of water, but when she put it to her lips ...

"I tried to drink it and it just fell down my front."

Sylvia was suffering a stroke.

Little did she know that by the time EMS transported her to the hospital and they conducted CAT scans, the neurosurgeon had already received the test results in his phone's email.

"The strange thing about it was I had not received an email yet from a neurologist or any physician," said Dr. Justin Mascitelli, assistant professor of Neurosurgery at University of Texas at San Antonio.

"It was a patient that I did not know about."

The doctor crossed the hallway into the ER, and there was Sylvia.

"It all happened very quickly," he said.

"They immediately rolled me in," Sylvia remembered.   "I'm trying to tell my grandson, I love you, they rolled me in and my legs were shaking."

Thanks to the RAPID Stroke Technology, the doctor was ready for surgery in twenty minutes.

"It saved my life,"" she remembered.   "It saved me from a total debilitating life that would limit me and be harder."

RAPID stroke technology provides faster visualization with extremely accurate scans.

That enables surgeons to make split-second decisions on the most effective treatment.

TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACKS:   People can experience temporary stroke symptoms called transient ischemic attacks (TIA) that usually don`t cause permanent damage or disability.   These symptoms appear and last less than 24 hours before disappearing.   Those who have suffered one or more TIA are 10 times more likely to have a stroke and should not ignore these attacks.   Nearly half of all strokes occur within the first few days after a TIA.   Depending on the cause of the TIA, future strokes can be prevented.   Along with lifestyle changes such as diet, physical activity, limiting alcohol intake, and not smoking, healthcare providers may recommend medications to treat blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease to reduce the risk of further TIA or stroke.   There are also medications that help prevent blood clots from forming, reducing the risk of full-blown stroke.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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