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Your Healthy Family: Southern CO man survives stroke in textbook - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Southern CO man survives stroke in textbook fashion

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Dave Csintyan survived a stroke because he made all the right moves when he recognized something was off. Dave Csintyan survived a stroke because he made all the right moves when he recognized something was off.

In early January of 2018, UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs was designated as a comprehensive stroke treatment center, the first in southern Colorado.  For the comprehensive stroke team to effectively meet their potential, it’s so important to continue to educate our community and frequently preach the warning signs of a stroke and how to act on them quickly.  Everyone should know about BE FAST.

B - Balance

E - Eyesight

F - Facial Drooping

A - Arm Strength

S - Slurred Speech, or Trouble Speaking

T - Time to Call 9-1-1

In March of 2017, Dave Csintyan didn’t know about BE FAST. He got his stroke awareness education through a first-hand experience that he thankfully survived because he did recognize something just wasn’t right.

Dave recalls, “It was March 20th, Monday early in the morning.  I'm an early bird so I’m up sucking down the news on my iPad, and the screen on the iPad just started coming in and out at me.  I had never seen that with my eyes before.”

That was Dave’s first clue, but he still didn’t call 9-1-1.  Instead he grabbed some fresh air and then tried to get back to his morning routine by feeding the dog.  That’s when another warning sign hit.

“I go into the kitchen with the water bowl and all of the sudden I notice I don't have any control over my arm.  I was just throwing water everywhere.  So I thought maybe I better go back where I started from.  So I sat back down in my chair and I knew at that point in time something was not correct.  So I yelled for (my wife) Margo, who was still sleep.  Thank God she heard me.  She came and looked me and thought I appeared to be OK, and then she heard my speech starting to slur.  

Dave’s slurred speech was stroke warning sign number 3, and he says his wife gets credit for the very most critical move of the morning.  “She said ‘I'm calling 9-1-1.’  We had never called 9-1-1 in 48 years of marriage, and I had never been in the hospital.”

E.M.S. quickly arrived and headed for the hospital.  Dave says he slurred “Memorial,” where his primary care doctor practices.  At UCHealth Memorial North, he was quickly seen by a neurologist, and a scan revealed a clot as the cause of his stroke.  Because of all the right moves through the morning, he was in the correct time window to receive the clot-busting drug tPA, (tissue plasminogen activator) which is essentially a powerful blood thinner. The tPA worked, and his clot resolved.

Today Dave says he has no residual signs of the stroke, and while the search for its cause continues, he knows that his outcome could have been far different that day.

“Number one, I could have just said ‘you know I'm going to go back to sleep.’ Wrong answer.  Number two, Margo could have said, ‘let’s just get in the car and drive to the hospital.’ Wrong answer because there has to be someone on the other end (who quickly recognizes stroke symptoms) to receive you,”

Now Dave hopes other people will get their stroke education from his story, know and recognize BE FAST, and not have to learn through first-hand experience.

“I couldn't spell stroke, I would've known it, (but) I can tell you today what FAST means.  Know the factors, know there is no downside to calling 9-1-1 because the clock is ticking. Time is brain.”

In our next story, Dave shares some of the subtle symptoms he tells me he didn't notice for years that could have possibly been a clue to help him avoid suffering a stroke.

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