Nancy Lowman didn’t need a miracle. She just needed the right diagnosis
and she needed it quick. Lowman, a 59-year-old Catawba Valley Medical
Center (CVMC) employee had no obvious stroke risk factors, but one morning
in February 2014, the vision in her left eye became completely yellow,
then she was unable to open the eye, and a sharp pain began to radiate
from her left temple down her neck. She became dizzy, nauseous and began vomiting.
Upon arriving at CVMC, a designated Primary Stroke Center, Lowman was connected
to Webster, a rolling robot topped by a video monitor, for a real-time
consultation with stroke experts at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical
Center’s (WFUBMC) Department of Neurology in Winston-Salem, NC.
After evaluating Lowman’s physical symptoms, reviewing her brain
scans and asking her a series of questions, CVMC physicians collaborated
with the Wake Forest team and determined she was having a right hemisphere
Lowman was a candidate for a clot-busting medication called Tissue Plasminogen
Activator (t-PA). According to the American Stroke Association, t-PA is
the only Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved treatment for ischemic
strokes and works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the
part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. However, a key factor
to its success is that it must be administered within three hours upon
onset of stroke symptoms.
“Because having a stroke is a very time sensitive situation, I was
told that if I had waited 30 minutes more, my arm would have been paralyzed
and the damage could have been permanent, requiring long-term rehabilitation
or a disability,” said Lowman.
While many stroke victims don’t get to a hospital in time for t-PA
treatment, Lowman was fortunate and has since made a full recovery. She
regained all functionality within 48 hours of arriving at CVMC and returned
to work in its Materials Management Department less than two weeks after
“By giving care remotely, patients and the CVMC stroke team don’t
lose a single minute of valuable time,” said Angela Whisenant, RN,
BSN, Stroke Program Coordinator. “As a designated Primary Stroke
Center, our patients receive care in advanced stroke units equipped with
the latest medical technology.”
Fewer than 20% of major US hospitals are stroke certified. CVMC has been
recognized for its exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes by reducing
death and disability caused by strokes.