Woman alive thanks to her husband recognizing stroke symptoms

- Thursday is World Stroke Awareness Day, and doctors want people to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. One Valley woman stopped breathing when it happened to her earlier this month. Her husband recognized the signs and called for help, a move that doctors credit to saving her life.

"I woke him up and said something's wrong," said Andrea Olivera.

Earlier this month Andrea woke her husband Gil up saying she didn't feel right. Gil quickly dialed 9-1-1.

"All of a sudden she started to slur, she kinda leaned over against the wall," said Gil Olivera.

Within 10 minutes Andrea was on her way to Abrazo Arrowhead Hospital, her husband saw her face was drooping on the right side, he told paramedics it looked like the signs of a stroke.

"He told them I had to be intubated right away, and that's the last thing I remember before I woke up," said Andrea.

Andrea had stopped breathing on her own, the doctor at Abrazo Community Health - Central gave her drugs that helped save her life.

"Our goal was we have to open this vessel to prevent a devastating and very large stroke," said Dr. Ahmed El Gengaihy.

The doctor discovered a blood clot in the part of her brain that controls her breathing and her heart. He removed the clot from the blocked vessel using a new tool; the Solitaire-T device.

"4-years-ago before they had all this stuff I would have died because they didn't even have the equipment to fix what happened to me," said Andrea.

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The doctor says the survival rate for her condition was once at 10%.

"Asking for help, calling 9-1-1 is the key here so we can help these patients," said Dr. Gengaihy.

It's a reminder to act quickly if someone is showing symptoms of a stroke.

"Everyone told me I was a lucky person and that it was a miracle because people don't live and have what happened to me happen, so here I am, I was a miracle woman," said Andrea.

Doctors say signs a person is having a stroke include; slurred speech, drooling, and the inability to raise up both your arms. Andrea and Gil spent their 44th anniversary together in the hospital, two days after she had her stroke.

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