Area hospitals achieve stroke-ready status

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Minnesota Department of Health designated Mayo Clinic Health System’s hospitals in Austin, Albert Lea, Cannon Falls, Lake City and Red Wing as acute stroke ready hospitals, recognizing their ability to offer the best care possible to patients who experience a stroke.

The hospitals’ emergency departments are equipped to evaluate, stabilize and provide emergency care to patients with acute stroke symptoms.

“We know the faster a stroke is diagnosed and appropriately treated the better chance there is of reducing permanent damage and disability,” Dr. Gisli Haraldsson, medical director of emergency medicine in Albert Lea and Austin, said. “With a stroke, time lost is brain tissue lost. We’re thrilled we can bring high-quality Mayo stroke care to the Southeastern Minnesota communities.”

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Stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident or brain attack, occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly stopped. This process is similar to a heart attack. Without oxygen, the nerve cells in the affected area of the brain cannot function and often die. As a result, the parts of the body controlled by that section of the brain usually quit working.

In addition to the MDH designation, all of the recognized hospital emergency departments offer patients tele-stroke. According to a press release, emergency department providers can consult with Mayo Clinic neurology stroke specialists in Rochester any tume day or night using real time audio/visual equipment that allows the neurologist to view and evaluate the patient remotely.

According to MDH, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Minnesota and accounts for approximately 2,100 deaths annually. Minnesota hospitals treat more than 12,000 stroke patients each year.

“It’s important for all of us to know how to spot a stroke quickly and call 911,” Haraldsson said.

According to a press release, the public is encouraged to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke by remembering F.A.S.T:

• F- Facial droop/numb-


• A-Arm weakness

• S-Speech difficulty

• T-Time to call 911

For more information about the warning signs of stroke and steps you can take to prevent a stroke, visit