Kate Eschbach wanted to give her parents Eileen and Joseph Eschbach the perfect going away present before their big retirement move to sunny Florida. Kate knew that it would be months perhaps, a year before her parents would eventually find a physician upon settling home in the state of Florida. “I wanted to give my parents peace of mind to know that they were starting a new adventure together healthy, “ said Kate.
Kate heard about Little Company of Mary’s Wake-Up Call Screening. The Wake-Up Call Screening is a comprehensive stroke screening that includes an ultrasound of carotid and abdominal aortic arteries, a peripheral vascular screening, a heart rhythm screening for atrial fibrillation, complete metabolic panel, full blood count, thyroid panel, C-reactive protein (CRP), heel ultrasound for osteoporosis and a one-to-one risk factor consultation with a wellness nurse educator to identify your personal risk factor for stroke and heart attack. Kate knew that this would be the perfect going away present for her parents.
Eileen and Joseph were thrilled to receive such a comprehensive health screening however Joseph never imagined the results would be life threatening. Three days after their Wake-Up Call Screening, Joseph received a call from Little Company of Mary’s Health Education Department informing Joseph that his left carotid artery was 90% blocked and that he was at high risk for a stroke also called a “brain attack.”
Carotid artery disease occurs when one of the major blood vessels, which supplies blood from the heart to the brain, becomes blocked or narrowed. Carotid artery disease can occur over time and is known as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is due to build-up of plaque along the inner walls of these arteries.
Carotid artery disease can be very serious because it can cause a stroke, or “brain attack.” This type of stroke can occur due to sudden impairment of blood flow to your brain. This is a medical emergency. Contacting 911 and being transported to the nearest emergency department of a Primary Certified Stroke Center hospital can save your life with availability of rapid diagnostics and treatment options.
You may not have any symptoms of carotid artery disease. Plaque can build up in the carotid arteries over time often with no warning signs. Take advantage of Little Company of Mary’s Wake-Up Call Screening to see if you are at risk for carotid artery disease.
Important Signs/Symptoms of an acute stroke may include:
n Sudden loss of vision, blurred vision, or difficulty in seeing out of one or both eyes
n Sudden weakness, tingling, or numbness on one side of the face, one side of the body, or in one arm or leg
n Sudden difficulty in walking, loss of balance, lack of coordination
n Sudden dizziness and/or confusion
n Sudden difficulty speaking (called aphasia)
n Sudden confusion
n Sudden severe headache
n Sudden difficulty swallowing (known as dysphagia)
As a result of participating in the Wake Up Call Screening, Joseph received a referral to see specialized vascular surgeon, Dr. Katherine Brown, and within a few days, had a carotid endarterectomy (CEA) at Little Company of Mary Hospital-Little Company of Mary is a nationally accredited Primary Certified Stroke Center. CEA is a commonly performed procedure for patients who have carotid atherosclerosis. While the patient is under general anesthesia, an incision is made in the neck at the location of the blockage. The surgeon isolates the artery and surgically removes the plaque and diseased portions of the artery. Then, the artery is sewn back together to allow improved blood flow to the brain.
Today, Joseph is recovered and couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to enjoy his healthy retirement in Florida. “I feel great, said Joseph. My stay at Little Company of Mary Hospital was fantastic. I had skilled and courteous nurses taking care of me around the clock. My incision is not noticeable and most importantly, my daughter Kate gave me the gift of life, she gave me a second chance to live again.”
Get screened! Your risk for stroke and heart disease can be much higher than you think. Little Company of Mary’s Health Education Center offers screenings such as the “Wake-Up Call” that provides valuable information to you and your physician. To learn more about Little Company of Mary’s life saving screenings or to make an appointment for the next Wake-Up Call screening, contact the Health Education Center at 708.423.5774 or visit our website at www.lcmh.org/screenings.
About Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Stroke Center:
Stroke affects approximately 9,000 Chicago residents annually. Certified Primary Stroke Centers deliver quality care and demonstrate exceptional clinical outcomes. They also promote ongoing community education focused on reduction of stroke risk factors for stroke prevention, medication compliance and recognition of sudden signs and symptoms of Acute Stroke. Little Company of Mary’s Accredited Primary Certified Stroke Program was designed to ensure that initial and ongoing Acute Stroke care delivery is provided based on evidence based practice recommendations specific to the adult patient population presenting with signs and symptoms of acute stroke/TIA/traumatic brain injury.
To learn more about our Primary Certified Stroke Center or to read about stroke prevention and warning signs, please visit our website at www.LCMH.org/stroke.
From left to right: Joseph Eschbach and Eileen McNichols, RN, Manager for Little Company of Mary’s Health Promotion Department, taking part in the Wake-Up Call screening.