One American dies of a stroke every 4 minutes, and stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the saying goes, “time is brain,” and early treatment is essential for minimizing damage from a stroke and preventing further complications. Emergency medicine physicians and providers, in particular, are often on the front lines of caring for these patients. May is Stroke Awareness Month, and a good time to make sure you have the latest information on caring for patients experiencing symptoms of a stroke.

Emergency Medicine Reports covers stroke-related topics in two issues this month, one on acute ischemic stroke in the emergency department and the other on spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage. These topics are both important to emergency medicine providers. “Acute ischemic stroke is a condition where emergent reperfusion can lead to a measurable improvement in patient outcome,” says J. Stephan Stapczynski, MD, physician editor of Emergency Medicine Reports. “The challenge for the emergency physician is to select the appropriate patient and initiate the appropriate methods against a rapidly ticking clock … benefit declines and harm increases with each passing hour,” he says.

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage “is one of those worrisome emergency conditions; rare but lethal if missed,” says Dr. Stapczynski. “The challenge is to make a timely diagnosis before significant neurologic damage occurs.”

In addition to the two articles from Emergency Medicine Reports, AHC’s premier stroke resource “Stroke: The Cutting Edge” has just been released this month and offers valuable information and stroke-specific continuing education credits to meet Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center requirements.