Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef was discharged from UC Davis Medical Center today after nearly four weeks of acute rehabilitation for a Dec. 1 ischemic stroke. He will continue to work with specialists as an outpatient to maintain and improve skills.
“Dr. Vanderhoef has responded well to rehabilitation and has regained much of the strength he lost on the right side of his body,” said Cassie Spalding-Dias, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and director of inpatient therapy at UC Davis. “Rehabilitation is an ongoing process, and we expect him to improve as his body continues to heal over the next year.”
A stroke, or "brain attack," occurs when blood circulation to the brain fails, causing some brain cells to die from decreased blood flow and the resulting lack of oxygen. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain. It is the most frequent cause of stroke, responsible for about 80 percent of all strokes in the U.S. Rehabilitation helps individuals relearn skills that were lost when brain cells died. It includes a wide range of therapies that provide carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice — the same kind of practice used by all people when they learn a new skill such as playing the piano or pitching a baseball.
“I’m glad to be getting back home and am thankful for the excellent care that I received from the nurses and rehabilitation team at UC Davis,” Vanderhoef said. “I’m eager to pick up where I left off in the office and to be back in my seat at the Mondavi Center and at our men’s and women’s basketball games. I’m getting better, day by day and bit by piece. I am definitely on my way back!”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 800,000 strokes occur in the United States each year. Recognizing the following signs of stroke and contacting 9-1-1 immediately can lower the risk of death and disability:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance and coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause.
Spalding-Dias emphasizes that treatment options are available for stroke when symptoms are identified and treated early.
“Time is brain,” Spalding-Dias said. “Rapid, early treatment can prevent long-term damage and offers the best chance of recovery for acute ischemic stroke patients.”