As more and more patients get older and having multiple risk factors for a stroke, everyone needs to know what symptoms should prompt an urgent trip to the ER without waiting for the doctor to call back. A simple tool has been developed called the ABCD2 score. It is summarized below. If a person has a score of 3 or more, then going directly to the ER is the best option.
- Age: if you are over the age of 60: 1 point
- Blood pressure treatment: If you are taking BP meds or if the BP is >140/90: 1 point
- Clinical Presentation:
- If you have focal weakness (can’t move a leg, or hand isn’t working right): 2 points
- If you have trouble speaking but have no weakness: 1 point
- Duration: If the symptoms have been going on for 10-59 minutes: 1 point, but if > 60 minutes: 2 points
Example: Judy is 67 yrs old and has been on BP medications for the last 7 years. She is at work, but starts to have trouble typing with her right hand. She ignores it but when the phone rings 90 minutes later, she finds that she cannot tell her daughter what is going on. She gets 1 point for being 67, 1 point for being on BP meds, 2 points because of her hand weakness, 1 point for the speech difficulty and 2 points because it has been going on for >60 minutes. Total: 7 points. She needs to go to the ER and can call her doctor on the way. Never wait to be evaluated or for the doctor to call back!!!