The Stroke Center
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Our Stroke Center received and has maintained a Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers from the Joint Commission since 2011. This means we continue to achieve long-term success in our goal of improving stroke outcomes. And you can take comfort in understanding that our quality care is effectively managed to meet your unique, specialized needs.
If you or someone you know has ever had a stroke, you may be aware that a stroke can sometimes be life-threatening and requires immediate care.
Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it and the brain cells die.
There are three main types of stroke:
- Hemorrhagic: Results from a weakened blood vessel that raptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain.
- TIA: Also called a mini-stroke and characterized as a “warning stroke.” It’s a temporary blockage caused by a clot and while usually not harmful, you should take it seriously and seek medical attention.
- Ischemic: Also known as clots. Occurs as a result of blockage within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.
First and foremost, we encourage you to recognize the following sudden warning signs and symptoms:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (commonly on 1 side)
- Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache, neck pain or photophobia (light sensitivity) with no known cause
If the above applies to you, here’s what you expect from our multidisciplinary team approach to stroke care:
- Around-the-clock hours so our staff can provide you with the immediate care you need
- A dedicated group of clinicians including nurses, a stroke coordinator, a stroke neurologist, and physical, speech, and occupational therapists
- Swift, leading-edge diagnosis and treatment to help minimize the likelihood of loss of brain function and reduce long-term disability
- Clinical expertise and constant monitoring by our team
- Dedication to achieving the highest outcomes and continuously working to improve stroke care and treatment
Services We Offer at the Stroke Center
Diagnosis. Treatment. Support.
The Stamford Health Stroke Center recognizes individual needs of each patient so we can provide personalized, compassionate care. If we do suspect stroke, our team becomes involved rapidly, performing tests to determine the exact type, location, and cause. We also work to rule out any other possible disorders.
Here’s what you can expect from diagnosis all the way through support:
Prevention & Screenings
It all starts with education.
The Stamford Health Stroke Center conducts many community screenings at employee health fairs, churches, senior centers and other venues. These screenings help identify individuals who have certain risk factors for stroke. Some root causes and risk factors can include:
We aim to educate the public on the impact these risk factors can have on their health. If we determine an individual to be at risk, we can refer him or her to an appropriate specialist at the Stamford Health Stroke Center.
To help determine the type of stroke you might have, we use tools such as:
- Acute CT scan and CT angiography
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Ultrasound of the carotid artery CT angiography
These tests allow us to determine if there are blockages in blood vessels of the neck or brain. A primary focus in the early stages after a stroke is to determine why the stroke happened in the first place. If the root cause can be found and treated, it increases the chances of preventing a secondary (additional) stroke. That’s also in part why we make sure all patients with stroke routinely undergo cardiac monitoring.
Stroke Treatment and Rehabilitation
Treatment for Stroke
Rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical to get you or your loved one on the road to recovery after a stroke. Stamford Health’s Stroke Center offers state of the art treatment for all types of strokes including ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, Transient ischemic attack (TIA) and Moyamoya disease.
Life-saving Treatment with Thrombectomy
A thrombectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure that removes a blood clot from a brain artery. This procedure, often used in conjunction with medication, has been proven to save lives and improve recovery for patients who experience an ischemic stroke. Leading-edge technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) software allows your neurointerventional radiologist to capture clear images of your brain, including the area affected by the stroke and the location of the blood clot. Your providers analyze these images and decide if thrombectomy is right for you. This rapid imaging scan allows physicians to quickly and precisely make a decision about treatment – which can help improve your recovery and outcome. Stamford Health is the first in lower Fairfield County to provide thrombectomy with the RAPID CT scan technology. During the procedure, your physician inserts a catheter (thin, flexible and hollow tube) into the blocked blood vessel. A stent retriever removes the blood clot and allows blood to flow freely to the brain once again. Thrombectomy can help improve the outcomes of patients who experienced a stroke.
Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) to Reduce Symptoms, Improve Recovery
Tissue plasminogen activator (more commonly known as a tPA) is a clot-busting drug that, when administered shortly after stroke symptoms begin, can reduce symptoms, save lives and improve outcomes for stroke survivors. This FDA-approved drug is administered through an IV, typically into the arm. tPA dissolves the clot to restore blood flow to the affected area of the brain. The medication can only safely be given within hours after stroke symptoms appear, so swift medical attention and diagnosis are critical to getting the care and treatment you, or your loved one, need.
Rehabilitation for Stroke
Stamford Health is committed to improving the lives of individuals recovering from a stroke. Our Van Munching inpatient acute rehabilitation program is designed to help stroke patients regain their independence and ability to perform daily activities. The interdisciplinary rehabilitation team brings together supportive, licensed healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, therapists, case managers and hospital neurologists. We regularly monitor each patient’s progress and adjust treatment and rehabilitation plans whenever needed. Continuity of care is important during recovery and patients in the hospital will see the same neurologist during their stay. Our comprehensive rehabilitation program is designed to meet individual patient goals and achieve the greatest level of independence for stroke survivors. Patients may access clinical activities and services based on their medical condition. These include:
- Cognition testing
- Nutritional counseling
- Patient and family education
- Physical and occupational therapy assessments
- Prosthetic and orthotic fitting
- Speech and language evaluations
- Discharge planning and community resource coordination.