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Stroke care

In case of stroke, the best medical team in our region is Baptist Health Paducah and you.

Baptist Health Paducah has the state's only certified stroke center west of Owensboro.

Stroke Public Service Announcement

What is stroke?

Not unlike a heart attack, a stroke can be thought of as a “brain attack,” occurring when a blood clot blocks an artery (ischemic stroke) or a blood vessel breaks (hemorrhagic stroke), interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either occurs, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.

The effects of some strokes can be reduced or reversed – with quick action.


• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg

• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding words

• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Sudden severe headache with no known cause

To remember the signs of stroke, think F.A.S.T.:

F=FACE         Try to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A=ARM          Raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S=SPEECH    Repeat a simple phrase. Is speech slurred or odd?

T=TIME          If you see any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Time saved is brain saved – in 3 hours or less

There is little time. Every minute treatment is delayed, 12 million brain cells die, resulting in speech or vision problems, paralysis or even death. Clot-busting medication given within three hours of the start of symptoms may reduce or reverse stroke damage.

The best stroke team: Baptist Health Paducah AND YOU!

That’s where you come in. Know the symptoms of stroke and call 911 to seek immediate treatment.

Baptist Health Paducah stroke center director Joseph Ashburn, M.D., explains the prevalence of stroke in our region at Watch to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke.

Rapid assessment, rapid treatment

Baptist Health Paducah rapid response team is ready to act when you make that call:

  • Emergency medical technicians have been trained to recognize stroke symptoms and start evidence-based medical care from the first encounter with the patient. They communicate with the hospital Emergency department, where a bed is reserved for anyone with stroke-like symptoms.
  • Emergency department doctors, nurses and paramedics are trained to activate a stroke alert, causing the stroke care team to follow time frames set by evidence-based medicine.
  • To determine if the clot-busting drug can be given, the team conducts a thorough history and assessment, including a CT scan of the head, a chest X-ray and lab work. A neurologist is consulted to determine the best treatment plan.
  • If the clot-busting drug is needed, the Emergency department physician or neurologist can administer it intravenously. If not, the best plan of care is determined, including the possibility of transfer to a comprehensive stroke center or admission to Baptist Health Paducah. 

Patient Testimonials

Spokes for Strokes                             

Baptist Health Paducah hosts its annual Spokes for Strokes bike tour the first Saturday in June beginning at the Baptist Imaging Center parking lot. The ride raises awareness for stroke and raises funds to invest in life-saving technologies and expanded stroke care services. Register at

Risk factors

• Age 55 and older

• African American

• High blood pressure

• History of previous TIA(s) or stroke

• Smoking

• Diabetes

• High cholesterol

• Obesity

• Atrial fibrillation

• Excessive alcohol use

• Drug abuse (especially cocaine)

• Family history of stroke

• Lack of physical activity – sedentary lifestyle

• Sleep apnea

Know the facts

• Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability and the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

• Each year, about 46,000 more women than men have a stroke.

• On average, every 45 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke.

• Every three to four minutes, someone dies of a stroke.

• Each year 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.

• African American have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared to Caucasians.

• Males and African Americans have higher rates of TIA (“mini” stroke).

• After TIA, the 90-day risk of stroke is 3 to 17.3 percent, highest within the first 30 days.

• 14 percent of persons who survive a first stroke or TIA will have another one within one year.

• 51 percent of men and 53 percent of women under age 65 who have a stroke die within eight years.

Chest Pain and Stroke brochure for help identifying signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke. 

Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline

For help identifying signs and symptoms of stroke, phone our award-winning Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline at 1.800.575.1911 to speak with a Baptist Health Paducah registered nurse any time, 24 hours a day seven days a week.