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In today’s podcast, Meghann Drella, one of our Senior Solutions Managers, discusses about Stroke and some of the frequently asked questions and answers about Stroke.

In This Episode

00.12 - Introduction to Stroke or Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)

Regarded as a serious life-threatening medical condition, stroke occurs when the blood supply to one part of the brain is cut off.

 01.24 - FAQ about Stroke

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about stroke.

01.28 - Different Types of Stroke

Stroke comprises three different types - Ischemic stroke, Hemorrhagic stroke and Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).

02.30 - Causes and Risk Factors of CVA

The causes of a stroke depend on the specific type.

03.14 - Signs and Symptoms of CVA

Getting familiar with the signs and symptoms of stroke or CVA is the initial step to ensuring that medical help is received immediately.

03.56 - Diagnosing Stroke

Strokes onset rapidly and in most cases can occur before an individual can be seen by a physician for a proper diagnosis

04.58 - Treatment Options for CVA

Understanding the signs and symptoms of stroke well in advance is the initial step to ensuring that correct treatment is received.

05.52 - ICD-10 Codes of Stroke

ICD-10 codes for stroke start at I60 and continue to I69.

 06.01 - Ways to Prevent Stroke in the Long Run

Identifying stroke risk factors, adopting a healthy lifestyle and following physician’s recommendations correctly are the best ways to prevent a stroke.

Hello and Welcome to our Podcast series. My name is Meghann Drella. I am a Senior Solutions Manager, here at Outsource Strategies International. Today I will be discussing about Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Stroke.

Regarded as a serious life-threatening medical condition, stroke occurs when the blood supply to one part of the brain is cut off. According to reports from the American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and disability in the United States. It is estimated that every year, more than 795,000 US people suffer a stroke. In the United States, about 40 percent of people who die from stroke are males, with 60 percent of deaths occurring in females. Also known as cerebrovascular accident or CVA, the condition occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds, or when there’s a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. The rupture or blockage prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain’s tissues. CVA is a medical emergency and need to be diagnosed and treated quickly as possible to minimize the chances of brain damage and other related complications. Treatment modality depends on the type and severity of stroke. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle combined with medications can help prevent the condition in an effective manner. Neurologists, neuro-radiologists, neurosurgeons or other specialists who treat different types of stroke need to correctly document the same in the patient’s medical records.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about stroke –

What are the different types of strokes?

Stroke comprises three different types - Ischemic stroke, Hemorrhagic stroke and Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Ischemic is recorded as the most common type. It is caused by blockages or narrowing of the arteries that provide blood to the brain, resulting in ischemia. Blocked or narrowed blood vessels are caused by fatty deposits that build up in the blood vessels or by blood clots or other debris that travel through your bloodstream and get deposited in the vessels of your brain. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures. Leaked blood puts pressure and damages brain cells thereby reducing the blood supply that can reach the brain tissue after the hemorrhage. And the Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a third of people who experience a TIA have a major stroke within a year if they have not received any treatment. It is also called a mini-stroke, that occur after blood flow fails to reach part of the brain. Normal blood flow resumes after a short amount of time, and symptoms cease.

What causes CVA and what are its potential risk factors?

The cause of a stroke depends on the type. There are two main types of stroke - a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Some people may have only a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain, known as a TIA, that doesn't cause lasting symptoms. However, the chance of stroke are more likely to affect people if they have the following risk factors like being overweight, having a personal or family history of stroke, having an inactive lifestyle, aged 55 years or older and a tendency to drink heavily, smoke, or use illicit drugs. In addition, medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease can also increase the risk of the same.

What are the major signs and symptoms of CVA?

Getting familiar with the signs and symptoms of stroke or CVA is the initial step to ensuring that medical help is received immediately. There are different signs and symptoms associated with this condition which include trouble with speaking and understanding, paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, headache, problem with walking and vision problems in one or both eyes. In addition to the persistence of the problems listed above, people may also experience some other symptoms like - bladder or bowel control problems, depression, paralysis or weakness on one or both sides of the body, trouble controlling or expressing emotions and pain in the hands and feet (that gets worse with movement and temperature changes).

How to diagnose stroke?

Strokes onset rapidly and in most cases can occur before an individual can be seen by a physician for a proper diagnosis. For a person experiencing the attacks of a stroke, it is important to undergo a proper diagnosis and treatment within the first 3 hours of their symptoms appearing. Diagnosis of CVA will normally begin with a detailed physical examination and analysis of symptoms and review of previous medical history. A neurological exam will also be conducted to see how a potential stroke is affecting the patient’s nervous system.

Physicians will check the blood pressure, listen to the carotid arteries in the neck, and examine the blood vessels at the back of the eyes to check for indications of clotting. They may recommend performing blood tests to find out how quickly the clots occur, the levels of particular substances in the blood, including clotting factors and whether or not an infection is present. Imaging tests like CT scan, MRI scan; Carotid, cerebral angiogram and Echocardiogram will be performed to confirm the type of stroke, its exact causes thereby to prevent unnecessary complications.

The treatments for CVA?

Understanding the signs and symptoms of stroke well in advance is the initial step to ensuring that correct treatment is received. It is estimated that for each minute a stroke goes untreated, the blood flow to the brain continues to be blocked and a person loses about 1.9 neurons. This could potentially affect one’s ability to speak, move, memorize and respond to different situations. Therefore, early diagnosis and timely recognition of symptoms can help in better disease management.

Treatment for stroke depends on and varies with the type of stroke a person suffers. Common treatment options include – over-the counter medications, anticoagulants, clot-breaking drugs, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, statins and blood pressure drugs and surgical procedures to remove blood clots. In some cases, surgery may also be required to treat brain swelling and reduce the risk of further bleeding if this was the cause of your stroke. ICD-10 codes for stroke start at I60 and continue to I69.

 What steps need to be taken to prevent the occurrence of the stroke in the long run?

Identifying stroke risk factors, adopting a healthy lifestyle and following physician’s recommendations correctly are the best ways to prevent a stroke. Some of the common prevention strategies include - controlling blood pressure and diabetes, quitting the usage of tobacco or alcohol, maintaining a healthy body weight, doing regular body exercise, and consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), lowering the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat in your diet, and avoiding the use of illegal drugs.

I hope this helps but always remember that documentation as well as a thorough knowledge of payer-regulations and guidelines is critical to ensure the accurate reimbursement for the procedures performed.

Thank You for joining me and stay tuned for my next podcast.