|Neil R. Holland, M.D., board-certified stroke neurologist and program director.
LONG BRANCH, NJ – Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, recently launched the region’s only expedited diagnostic program specifically designed for patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke.
The outpatient TIA Rapid Evaluation Center (TREC) at Monmouth Medical Center provides an immediate, comprehensive evaluation of patients within 24 hours of TIA and refers them directly to emergency physicians and other specialists.
“TIA’s can be a major warning sign of impending stroke,” says board-certified stroke neurologist and program director Neil R. Holland, M.D., who notes that patients who have had a recent TIA need to be evaluated as soon as possible for reversible risk factors that could be addressed to lower their stroke risk.
A TIA is a stroke-like episode that leaves no lasting effects but is considered to be a warning sign that a more significant stroke could occur. During an episode, patients experience a range of neurologic symptoms, all of which improve or disappear within 24 hours. Symptoms include:
- Sudden onset of numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one whole side of the body
- Sudden lack of coordination
- Sudden onset of confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden onset of vision disturbance in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking
- Sudden dizziness
Immediate assessment and intervention of a TIA reduces the chances of having a future disabling stroke. TREC services encompass every diagnostic test necessary to determine the best stroke prevention strategies for patients who are at high risk for experiencing a more serious stroke.
Patients undergo imaging studies, cardiac testing and blood tests, and meet with a stroke neurologist who designs a personalized treatment plan based upon individualized test results and unique health needs. The TREC at Monmouth Medical Center identifies the most appropriate stroke prevention treatments for each patient in a single day so that preventative care can be scheduled with appropriate specialists and administered without delay.
The TREC at Monmouth Medical Center is an open-access center, which means that any patient who has experienced a TIA or minor stroke within the last two weeks, and has been referred to the center by their family or emergency room physician, will be seen the next day without a set appointment.
“Traditionally, these patients are admitted to the hospital, where they can spend several days waiting to be seen by the neurologist and getting tests done,” Dr. Holland says. “Through this innovative new program, Monmouth Medical Center is offering an alternative daily open access service, where patients can have all the necessary tests done and be evaluated by the certified stroke team all in one day without staying overnight in the hospital.’
Dr. Holland says Monmouth is one of the first major hospitals in the United States to offer this type of service, which in other countries has not only proved more convenient for patients, but has also been shown to improve outcomes and lower health care costs.
For more information on the TIA Rapid Evaluation Center at Monmouth Medical Center, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit www.barnabashealth.org/hospitals/monmouth_medical/neuroscience.
June 21 , 2012
CONTACT: Elizabeth Brennan
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