At St. Luke’s Medical Center, the Brain Attack Code was conceptualized to ensure that stroke is treated correctly and quickly to prevent permanent loss and minimize disability. Once the brain attack alarm is sounded, a strict timetable is followed by the Brain Attack Team (BAT) to ensure the best and quickest treatment. Within ten minutes upon arrival in the emergency room, the stroke patient is identified by the ER physician and a brain attack code is called. Within 15 minutes, the Stroke Team evaluates the patient and assesses his or her condition. Within 25 minutes, a CT scan or an MRI is performed and an interpretation of the imaging is made within 45 minutes. Within an hour upon arrival in the ER, the course of treatment is decided on and proper medication must be given. Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), also known as a "clot buster", may be administered to certain patients and those who arrive within 3 hours from the onset of stroke symptoms. This medication can possibly restore blood flow to the affected area of the brain by disintegrating the clot.
The core of the Brain Attack Code is the Brain Attack Team composed of ER physicians, stroke neurologists and stroke nurse specialists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, physical therapists, nutritionists and nurses. The multidisciplinary approach to stroke aims to minimize the volume of brain tissue that may be damaged, prevent complications, reduce disability and handicap from occurring, and prevent stroke recurrence.