Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit Program

Every four minutes an American dies from a stroke. You can help save someone's life.

The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit Program will revolutionize stroke care by reducing the time between first symptoms and emergent medical treatment. The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit is a specially equipped and staffed ambulance that provides early diagnosis and treatment to stroke patients before they arrive at the hospital.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is blocked, depriving brain cells of the oxygen and glucose needed for survival. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in America and the leading cause of adult disability. More than 800,000 strokes occur annually in the United States. Of those, approximately 8,000 occur in Maricopa County.

There are two types of strokes: ischemic strokes (87 percent of strokes) and hemorrhagic strokes (13 percent). An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery supplying oxygen-rich blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures.

After the onset of a stroke, it is critical to rapidly reestablish blood flow to the affected portion(s) of the brain. When blood flow is restricted in the brain, every minute that passes determines the amount of tissue saved and the likelihood of complete recovery. It is estimated that 1.8 million neurons are lost each minute, and the probability of a good outcome is reduced 10 percent every 30 minutes until blood flow is reestablished.

The Barrow Stroke Program is one of the most experienced and expert stroke programs in the country, caring for more stroke victims than any other center in the southwestern United States. More patients have been treated with tPA (the only FDA-approved "clot-busting" drug) than at any other hospital in the United States.

The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit program will revolutionize stroke care by reducing the time between first symptoms and appropriate medical treatment, thus reducing brain damage, death and long-term disabilities resulting from strokes.

With the advent of the Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit, important research data will be collected on outcomes of the program in order to improve care. The specially trained healthcare providers of the Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit will provide immediate diagnosis and treatment to stroke patients before they arrive at the hospital. A number of new clinical trials will be launched at Barrow, offering stroke patients opportunities to participate in new treatment, care and rehabilitation. Barrow's research and expedited diagnoses will enhance the reach of expert stroke care and dramatically improve outcomes with a greater possibility of complete recovery.