MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Making an emergency call for an ambulance is the only correct thing do at the first sign of a stroke, U.S. and Australian researchers say.
In two separate studies, Stephen Davis of West Virginia University and Ian T. Mosley of the University of Melbourne found possibly significant delays when doctors' offices were called first. There is a three-hour window of opportunity for acute stroke treatment that can potentially avert serious post-stroke disability, the researchers explained.
In the West Virginia study, researchers randomly called primary care about 40 physicians' offices seeking advice for hypothetical stroke or heart attack. The receptionists did a good job when it came to heart attack symptoms. However, for stroke scenarios, nearly one-third of the receptionists recommended scheduling an appointment later in the day if symptoms continued.
The second study involved 198 patients who arrived at three Australian emergency rooms via ambulance over six months. The study found 22 percent of emergency room stroke patients had first called a family doctor and 32 percent called an ambulance immediately.
The findings were reported at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.