The Comprehensive Stroke Centers, also known as CSTK Measures, provides assessments of vital signs such as pulse, respiration, and blood pressure. They also are used to measure the amount of damage that is present in the patient’s brain. These functions are often performed as part of a series of comprehensive stroke procedures.
Stroke patient measurements are often performed using ultrasound devices. At the Comprehensive Stroke Centers, CT imaging and MRI machines are using to get detailed pictures of the brain’s various regions. The CT scans show the injury to the brain. MRI scans allow doctors to see what is happening in the cerebrospinal fluid – a clear fluid that surrounds the brain – surrounding the brain injury.
This technology is widely used at the Comprehensive Stroke Centers. The staff knows how to use these imaging machines and can tell the patient what the results will be. Depending on the cause of the stroke, sometimes the patient can have invasive testing and operations, or the procedure may be less invasive.
Patients will be referred to the Comprehensive Stroke Center from other local medical facilities and from the state-funded Stroke Treatment Centers in their area. Because the Comprehensive Stroke Center has access to the same CT scanners and MRI machines as those at the National Stroke Treatment Centers, patients at the Comprehensive Stroke Centers can be treated at any of the centers at no additional cost.
By using one of the methods of comprehensive stroke measures, the Comprehensive Stroke Centers is able to gain a better understanding of the level of damage the patient has suffered. The level of damage can vary and it depends on a number of factors. The Comprehensive Stroke Centers uses the CT scan and MRI to gather information on the extent of the brain damage.
A trained Stroke Measurement Specialists can make a combination of observations during the complete testing of the patient. It might be possible for some patients to undergo an operation that is less invasive, while other patients would be operated on only if there is an opportunity to do so. With CT and MRI, Comprehensive Stroke Centers has a better chance of being able to detect damage early in the process of recovery.
This imaging technology is commonly used in Comprehensive Stroke Centers in which an MRI scan is not done, because of the damage that the patient has already sustained. In those areas where an MRI scan is not possible, more traditional techniques of Comprehensive Stroke Measures are used, such as digital fluoroscopy, cerebral angiography, or radionuclide studies.
At the Comprehensive Stroke Units, other types of imaging tests are performed, as well. Other advanced imaging methods include magnetic resonance imaging, sonography, electroencephalography, and peripheral nerve evaluation. Comprehensive Stroke Measures uses imaging technologies to find out where the problems in the brain are and to identify the locations where the problems are most likely to occur.
While CT and MRI imaging technologies are widely used at the Comprehensive Stroke Centers, studies have shown that the use of CT scanning and MRI scanning is not always a good way to find out where the problems are located. For example, as many as 45% of people who are scanned at the Comprehensive Stroke Units will be found to have damage that is also present in other parts of the body.
A strategy developed by the Stroke Treatment Centers is to use CT to identify where the damage is in the brain. As the brain damage is found, the individual is then given a type of chemotherapy drug called temozolomide. Temozolomide is given to the patient as a one time dose, with the hope that the patient will have better survival rates and fewer complications when the chemotherapy drug is stopped or reduced after a certain period of time.
CT scans are also used to determine if the person has a mild to moderate amnesia, or forgetfulness. These tests can be used at the Comprehensive Stroke Units in areas of the brain that control memory. These scans can also reveal if the brain damage is worse in a particular region than others.
Comprehensive Stroke Center patients are scanned with or without the aid of an MRI to find out if there is brain damage or not. MRI exams help the doctors determine what parts of the brain are damaged and how bad they are affected.