Sharp drop seen in stroke patients may indicate ignored transient ischemic attacks

The number of patients seeking stroke treatment at Norton Healthcare has been falling sharply since the COVID-19 outbreak began its sweep across the United States in March. In May, 36% fewer patients sought stroke care at Norton Healthcare than in the same month a year earlier.

“People may be sitting at home with minor strokes because they are afraid to come to the hospital. I fear they will show up later with more severe strokes,” said Lynn Hundley, APRN, Norton Healthcare director for clinical effectiveness and stroke care.

Norton Healthcare received 8% fewer stroke cases in March compared with a year earlier. The decline widened to 34% in April, and the trend continued in May.

Louisville-area emergency rooms are prepared to handle suspected COVID-19 cases. In addition, sophisticated cleaning protocols mean each room is disinfected between patients.

Norton Healthcare operates the area’s largest stroke care system with Norton Brownsboro Hospital at its hub. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission have certified Norton Brownsboro Hospital as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

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