Young stroke survivor thanks Abrazo care team

May 9, 2021

stephanie-flynn-stroke-patient-thanks-abrazoGOODYEAR – Stephanie Flynn experienced a stroke at age 34. Her story emphasizes the importance of knowing the signs of stroke and seeking immediate emergency care.

Flynn’s life changed on Jan. 8, 2020. Now a little over a year after emergency treatment at Abrazo West Campus and follow up rehabilitation for her recovery, she is thankful for the hospital’s quick-thinking caregivers and advanced stroke care capabilities.

“The morning started off like any other day, little did I know it would end up being the most dramatic day in my life. Thankfully, due to the quick actions of the Abrazo West Campus stroke team I’m able to recount this story so others may see into the world of stroke and have confidence in the medical professionals who are standing by ready to help,” said Flynn.

While her husband Shannon, an F-35 pilot at Luke AFB, took their oldest daughter to school, Stephanie, at home with a ten-month-old, noticed a sudden numbness in her right side and tingling in her face. Upon returning home, Shannon found her on the living room floor. Within minutes of arriving at Abrazo West Campus a CT scan confirmed she was having a stroke.

stroke-patient-thanks-abrazoFlynn received tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) within an hour of her first stroke symptoms. Interventional Neurologist Dr. Sushant Kale and his team began preparing for a thrombectomy to clear the clot in Flynn’s brain. In the hospital’s Interventional Radiology Suite, Dr. Kale saw the clot responding to the tPA. Because Abrazo West Campus is a Primary Plus Stroke Center, it has the capacity to perform thrombectomies if needed for complex ischemic strokes.

More than 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes caused by a clot that cuts off blood flow to a part of the brain. They are largely treatable if a patient gets to a hospital that can provide the right treatment in time. Studies have shown the value of mechanical thrombectomy for large vessel occlusive ischemic strokes, according to Dr. Kale.

Quickly and effectively treating stroke helps preserve brain function and a better quality of life for patients after a stroke, he said.

Abrazo West offers stroke trained Emergency Department staff, advanced neuro imaging facilities, a neurointerventional biplane suite, neurology, neurosurgery, neuroradiology, neuro interventional and intensive care physicians and rehabilitation services,” said Dr. Kale.

Within two hours of arriving at the hospital Flynn was recovering in the ICU, and discharged three days later.

“The stroke team at Abrazo West did a tremendous job at keeping me informed on my progress and what to expect going forward. I was able to regain my full physical strength within six months and close to full mental stamina within a year of the stroke. I consider myself very lucky in that my outcome is now almost back to normal physically and mentally,” said Flynn.

“My husband and I have discussed multiple times how lucky we were to go to Abrazo West Campus and that Dr. Kale was on call that day. We owe a tremendous debt to them as they were able to show such professionalism and care when I needed it most,” she said.

Learn the FAST warning signs of stroke

FAST is an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke and how to respond:

F – Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
A – Arm weakness: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – Speech difficulty: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred?
T – Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

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