Neurosciences Institute

Stroke emergency

Learn more about stroke treatment

A stroke is a life-threatening emergency

If you have a stroke, getting help right away is essential to your recovery. This can prevent life-threatening complications. Calling 911 at the first sign of a stroke will increase your chance of survival and decrease your risk of being disabled later.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a stroke, call


At Novant Health, we are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of stroke in people of all ages. Our talented team of clinicians will care for you from the moment you arrive in our emergency department until you complete your rehabilitation therapy.

  • Certified Primary Stroke Centers – Novant Health has hospitals that are nationally recognized by The Joint Commission for their innovative procedures, advanced technology and adherence to strict treatment guidelines.
  • Care when you need it – Our stroke centers are staffed by emergency medicine physicians and nurses who specialize in stroke care and are in the hospital 24 hours a day. Our team also includes neurologists, neurointerventional radiologists, neurosurgeons and neuroscience navigators who work closely with emergency staff to deliver lifesaving care and develop your recovery plan.
  • Convenient locations – With many hospitals nationally recognized by The Joint Commission as Certified Primary Stroke Centers, Novant Health makes it easy to access remarkable healthcare.
  • Personal connections – When you come into our facilities, you’re treated as a valued guest.

If your stroke is caused by a blood clot and you receive emergency treatment within the first three to eight hours after your symptoms begin, you may be able to receive medication to dissolve the clot, which helps increase the chance of a full recovery. The earlier you seek care, the more likely you are to recover.

Stroke treatment is most effective when started immediately. If you experience the warning signs of a stroke, call 911 and ask to be taken to a Novant Health facility right away. When you arrive, our stroke team will work together to evaluate you or your loved one and determine which treatment will be most effective.

Some examples of emergency stroke treatments include:

  • Intra-arterial thrombolytic administration – If you have blood clots as a result of an ischemic stroke, a physician may insert a tiny catheter through a small incision in your groin and thread it into your brain to the site of the clot, where clot-dissolving drugs such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) will be delivered. If done within three hours after a stroke, this procedure has a high success rate, with 40 percent of stroke patients having few or no disabilities following treatment.
  • Treatments to control or reduce brain swelling – Special types of intravenous (IV) fluids are often used to help reduce or control brain swelling, especially after a hemorrhagic stroke (a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain).
  • Craniotomy – A craniotomy is a type of brain surgery for critically ill stroke patients. It is performed to remove blood clots and treat brain swelling related to strokes.
  • Neuroprotective agents – Neuroprotective agents are medications that help protect the brain from ischemia (lack of oxygen). These agents are being studied in national clinical trials and are available at Novant Health.