Atlantic View at Overlook Medical Center

When a Stroke is Possible, Experience Makes the Difference

fdab34b21455786ec5d7_Dr._Gary_Belt_2017.jpg
Gary Belt, MD, stroke neurologist, Overlook Medical Center
0020e7ff7bc673209cc3_877d0e368938480ea5e8_Angela_McCall-Brown__nurse_practitioner.jpg
fdab34b21455786ec5d7_Dr._Gary_Belt_2017.jpg

When it comes to accurately diagnosing whether someone has suffered a stroke, “one can never be too smart,” says Dr. Gary Belt.

Belt, a stroke neurologist at Atlantic Neuroscience Institute in Overlook Medical Center, has more than three decades of experience in making those tricky diagnoses. He knows that superficial signs that seem to indicate a stroke can’t always be trusted and that a stroke neurologist must think like a detective.

In a presentation he titled “Stroke Mimics,” Belt recently spoke to a roomful of nurses at the 2017 Atlantic Health System Neuroscience Nursing Symposium. His goal: To help them become more adept at what he called “the stroke or no-stroke game.”

Sign Up for E-News

Getting it right is crucial, because an accurate diagnosis – and the quick administration of the clot-busting drug Alteplase (tPA) – can have wonderful results.

“Since the mid-1990s, we’ve had a drug called tPA which, essentially, is like Drano for a blood vessel,” Belt said. “We know that if we open the vessels quickly enough, we can prevent a stroke or keep the damage from a stroke to a minimum.”

The nurses listening to Belt were all trained in The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) test. Nurse practitioner Angela McCall-Brown, an expert in the NIHSS, also spoke at the symposium, relaying anecdotes that showed the importance of medical staff experience and knowledge during that first observation.

In addition to carefully assessing the cognitive capabilities of possible stroke patients, nurses must dutifully follow – in a specific order – the NIHSS tests of motor skills. These include having patients do simple tasks such as touching their noses, holding their arms out and rubbing one heel against the opposite shin.

In addition to carefully assessing the cognitive capabilities of possible stroke patients, nurses must dutifully follow – in a specific order – the NIHSS tests of motor skills. The value of speed in performing the NIHSS comes to play in helping doctors decide when patients should be treated with tPA.

Both Belt and McCall-Brown said they are sometimes surprised by the effectiveness of fast treatment.

“I had a patient … They brought her into Overlook Medical Center emergency department and she was totally mute,” McCall-Brown said. “She could sit and look at us and she was shaking her head, but she was not saying anything.”

The woman was administered alteplase and while the stroke team monitored the patient, McCall-Brown left the Emergency Room.

“I went back upstairs, saw some more patients on the unit, and came back downstairs to the emergency department,” she said. Knowing the patient could not speak, she started talking to the family.  I said, ‘So how’s everybody doing? My name’s Angela.’ And the patient says, ‘I’m much better now.’”

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Roxbury

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

Necessary Discussion and Debate of Addressing School Violence

June 10, 2018

Dear Editor,

As of late, due to most disturbing acts of violence against children in our schools, there is much vigorous debate regarding gun control and protection of our children and grand-children.

Much of the debate is based on emotion rather than reasoned thought.

I think that exploration in three areas needs to be more thoroughly discussed and debated. The first is ...

Necessary Discussion and Debate of Addressing School Violence

Dear Editor,

As of late, due to most disturbing acts of violence against children in our schools, there is much vigorous debate regarding gun control and protection of our children and grand-children.

Much of the debate is based on emotion rather than reasoned thought.

I think that exploration in three areas needs to be more thoroughly discussed and debated. The first is ...

22 From Roxbury Area Make U of Delaware Dean's List

June 15, 2018

NEWARK, DE - The following Roxburyuarea students have been named to the University of Delaware Dean's List for the Spring 2018 semester:

Samantha Aquino of Flanders 

Olivia Boon of Ledgewood 

Christopher Bouvier of Flanders 

Alyssa Cartier of Flanders 

Juliette Castro of Landing 

Brennan Chuprinko of Flanders 

Ryan Decker of ...

Roxbury Student Makes University of Hartford Dean's List

WEST HARTFORD, CT - The University of Hartford is pleased to announce Zachary Almakias of Succasunna has been named to its Dean's List for Spring 2018.

Nicole Peterson of Roxbury Graduates from Widener

CHESTER, PA -- Nicole Peterson of Succasunna was one of more than 800 to graduate May 19 from Widener University.

Peterson earned a Bachelor of Social Work in Social Work from Widener's School of Human Service Professions.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, ...

Press Releases

JCP&L Completes Inspections and Projects Prior to Summer Season to Help Enhance Customer Service Reliability

June 11, 2018

Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) has completed inspections and projects across its 13-county service area to enhance customer reliability in preparation for the summer season.  The work included upgrading transmission and substation equipment, upgrading circuits and trimming trees along power lines. 

Helicopter patrols are completing inspections on more than 780 ...

Facebook Provides Verification Badges for All TAPinto Facebook Pages

TAPinto and its 75 partner sites have been verified on Facebook with the social media platform's blue badge, which is given to news organizations that meet Facebook's authenticity criteria. 

Facebook gives the blue verification badge to "eligible brands, media organizations and public figures," based on factors that include policy compliance and public ...