Neurology > Stroke (Cerebrovascular Disease)

Stroke (Cerebrovascular Disease)

Why choose Wayne Health for Stroke Care?

Wayne Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Program is one of the leading stroke programs in the country and serves as a referral center for patients from across Michigan. Our comprehensive stroke team collaborates with a group of specialists in neurosurgery, neurocritical care, and with endovascular interventionalists, interventional cardiologists and rehabilitation experts. This collaborative approach provides patients with optimal stroke care, a treatment plan customized to their needs and strategies for stroke prevention.

Our stroke team evaluates patients at the downtown Detroit Medical Center (DMC) hospitals for emergency treatment with “clot-buster” drugs or the latest clot-removal or revascularization procedures.

Wayne Health’s team of experts have helped Detroit Receiving Hospital and Harper University Hospital attain Joint Commission certification as primary stroke centers, and to earn an American Stroke Association Silver Award for consistent compliance with stroke care quality measures.

We are also a proud member of the National Institutes of Health-funded StrokeNet, a network of stroke centers conducting small and large clinical trials and research studies to advance stroke treatment, prevention, recovery and rehabilitation.

Overview

A stroke is a sudden disruption in blood flow to the brain caused by a blockage of a blood vessel (ischemic stroke) or bleeding of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Areas of the brain that are affected by the blockage or bleeding can become damaged within minutes. The effects of a stroke may be mild or severe and temporary or permanent. The effects depend on which brain cells are damaged, how much of the brain is involved, and how quickly the blood supply is restored to the area

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

Symptoms of a stroke happen quickly. A stroke may cause:

  • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
  • Sudden vision changes.
  • Sudden trouble speaking.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
  • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
  • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

FAST is a simple way to remember the main symptoms of stroke. Recognizing these symptoms helps you know when to call for medical help.

FAST stands for:

  • Face drooping.
  • Arm weakness.
  • Speech difficulty.
  • Time to call 911.

When you know stroke symptoms, you will know when it’s important to call for medical help. Quick treatment may save your life. And it may reduce the damage in your brain so that you have fewer problems after the stroke.

Risk Factors

Diagnosis

The first test the doctor will do in the emergency room is a CT scan of the head. This can show if there is bleeding in the brain. This test will show whether the stroke is ischemic or hemorrhagic. You may also have an MRI.

Other tests recommended for ischemic stroke include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) to check for heart problems.
  • Blood tests to help your doctor make choices about your treatment and to check for conditions that may cause symptoms like those of a stroke. Tests may include:
    • Complete blood count (CBC).
    • Blood sugar.
    • Electrolytes
    • Liver and kidney function.
    • Prothrombin time and INR (a test that measures how long it takes your blood to clot

 

Our approach to treatment

Wayne Health providers treat a wide range of stroke conditions with a variety of treatments.   Stroke is now a treatable condition if the patient is evaluated quickly after the onset of stroke. The type of treatment depends upon the type of stroke you have and your individual needs.

Wayne Health providers have vast experience in treating the following conditions:

Acute stroke

Carotid artery disease

Cardioembolic stroke, including those related to patent foramen ovale (PFO)

Intracranial aneurysm

Arteriovenous malformations

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), a form of mini-stroke

Our wide array of treatments include:

  • Endovascular Thrombectomy– using a catheter to physically remove a clot
  • Thrombolytic therapy – using the FDA-approved medicine tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to dissolve a clot causing an ischemic stroke to increase the chance of a full recovery. tPA can only be administered to carefully selected patients within three hours of the beginning of a stroke.
  • Antiplatelet and anticoagulant medicines – known as blood thinners, these medications can reduce your chances of a stroke, and include aspirin and warfarin.
  • Surgical approaches – in serious patients with large strokes, this can include a hemicraniectomy, where half the skull is removed.
  • Mechanical procedures – these include Carotid Endarterectomy, a procedure to prevent a stroke by removing blockages in the carotid arteries of the neck; carotid stenting to prevent strokes by opening narrowed arteries; and other revascularization procedures.

How is Stroke Treated?

Advancing research and medical education

Wayne Health physicians and researchers are also faculty at Wayne State University School of Medicine who conduct basic, translational and clinical research. This makes the latest treatments and clinical trials available to you sooner than other providers without a medical school affiliation, and before FDA approval or commercial availability.

Our stroke research focuses on stroke prevention, improving the quality of stroke care, and the increased risk of stroke in minority populations. Other current areas of research include: carotid disease and acute stroke treatments; new blood thinners for stroke prevention; and a novel approach to improve motor recovery after a stroke.

Wayne Health providers also help to educate the next generation of physicians by teaching WSU medical students, neurology residents, and fellows in WSU’s stroke fellowship program, which is recognized by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

For more information, please visit the links below at the WSU School of Medicine.

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