Written by: Alexander Zubkov, MD, PhD, FAHA

When Rosanna Rizzi suddenly lost her ability to speak or to move during a flight bound for Italy, the clock started ticking.

Every minute counts when you’re having a stroke. Minutes can mean the difference between surviving and thriving or living with potentially debilitating side effects.

Fortunately for Rosanna, her plane made an emergency landing and she was brought to Fairview Southdale Hospital, home to the new Carl N. Platou Emergency Center and our award-winning Stroke Center.

Because timing is everything, our emergency center and stroke care protocols were designed to increase the speed with which patients are evaluated and treated.

For Rosanna, that meant within 60 minutes of arriving to the hospital, emergency physician Karel Isely, and the care team assessed and diagnosed her with a blood clot in the brain.

At minute 61, neurologist Kristen Kelly-Williams began administering intravenous tissue plasminogen activator to Rosanna. This is a clot buster that begins dissolving the clot.

Shortly thereafter, Jeffrey Lassig, an interventional neuroradiologist, performed a thrombectomy, which removed the remaining clot. This restored blood flow to Rosanna’s brain.

Quick action, team work and excellence in clinical care stopped the clock on Rosanna’s medical emergency, helping her make a full recovery back to health.

Watch Rosanna Rizzi’s description of the “angel-like” care she received at Fairview Southdale Hospital and to learn more about her clinical care, which was made possible, in part, by generous donors to Fairview Foundation.

Learn how to recognize signs of a stroke

Time is critical to the outcome of the stroke so it’s important to know a stroke is happening. To recognize signs of a stroke, use this four-step approach with the easy-to-remember name: F.A.S.T.

Face – Try to smile. Does one side droop?

Arm – Hold up both arms. Does one arm drift down?

Speech – Try repeating a simple phrase. Unable to or slurred?

Time – Call 9-1-1 if having even one of these signs of stroke. Time is critical.

If you act F.A.S.T., it can make a big difference.

Alexander Zubkov, MD, PhD, FAHA, is the medical director for the Stroke Center at Fairview Southdale Hospital. He is board certified in neurology and vascular neurology and practices at the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology in Edina. Dr. Zubkov was named a “Top Doctor” from 2011 to 2015 by Mpls. St. Paul Magazine. Fairview Southdale Hospital is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, was named “One of the Safest Hospitals in Minnesota” by AARP The Magazine and received the 2016 Women’s Choice Award for Stroke Care.