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Brain Attack - Introduction

Preparing and prompting health care providers to respond to and treat stroke as a brain attack -- a medical emergency.

The Brain Attack Coalition represents the broadest collaboration among physicians concerned with the care of patients with stroke. The six leading stroke-related health care organizations have joined forces to design and execute a professional education and information campaign to promote improved response to and management of patients with acute stroke. The member organizations of the Brain Attack Coalition include the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), American Society of Neuroradiology (ASN), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and National Stroke Association (NSA). The Coalition's messages are these:

  • It is important that health care providers, as well as the public, understand that stroke is preventable.
  • When stroke symptoms appear, it is an emergency.
  • It is important to recognize the symptoms of stroke.
  • Brain cell injury during stroke is progressive and a treatment "window" exists.
  • There currently are treatments available.
  • New treatments are being developed.
  • Getting the patient with stroke into the hands of competent medical care quickly can make a difference

Brain Attack: The Coalition has adopted this term to help convey the message that stroke is a medical emergency that needs to be viewed and treated with the same urgency as a heart attack. The traditional response to stroke by both health care providers and the public is commonly characterized as "nihilistic," meaning nothing can be done. Today, the way in which we view and treat stroke is being revolutionized. Our notions about stroke and its treatment are being transformed from pessimism into optimism and nihilists are becoming interventionalists. We are on the threshold of having the first true interventional agents for acute stroke treatment, and hospitals across the country are developing stroke teams to prepare for the coming therapeutic challenge.

Members of the Brain Attack Coalition
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