A stroke is considered a medical emergency. It occurs when blood flow is reduced or interrupted to a part of your brain, depriving it of nutrients and oxygen. Brain cells rapidly begin to die. This can result in side effects such as paralysis on one side of the body or the inability to speak.

Did you know?

  • 405,000 people in Canada are living with the effects of a stroke every year — this could be you, or someone you know.
  • When someone experiences a stroke, every second without care can impact the rest of their life.

What are the signs of a stroke?

If you suspect someone is having a stroke, speed is key to effective treatment. Remember FAST.

  • Face – Ask them to smile. Is one side of their face drooping?
  • Arm – Ask them to raise both arms. Is there weakness or numbness to one side? Is one side drifting below the other?
  • Speech – Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. Listen for slurring or jumbling of words.
  • Time to call 911! Call immediately. Even if symptoms have resolved, this is still an emergency. Immediate assessment and treatment is still needed to prevent another event.

VGH neurologist Dr. Thalia Field shares some expert tips on how to identify and respond to this health care crisis.

VGH is the best place to be in BC

If you have a stroke in British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) is the best possible place to be. But what happens if you can’t get to Vancouver?

This is where the Vancouver Stroke Program at VGH comes in. It is designed to provide real-time care for the entire province. This means:

  • If you are having a stroke, you may be connected to a community of neurologists through our telestroke technology, as appropriate.
  • Neurologists are able to provide real-time assessment and diagnosis through telestroke’s live interface.
  • This program improves patient care and significantly reduces the negative long-term effects of a stroke for patients in BC.

You can help bring the best in brain health research and care to BC. Learn more about Brain Breakthroughs. It’s About Time.

“Few medical conditions are more personal than a stroke. It can strip you of your intellect, your independence, your speech, your dignity and, in the end, often your life.”


– Dr Philip Teal, Director of Department of Neurology at Vancouver Acute

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