Advanced diagnosis, care and rehabilitation
Immediate treatment can dramatically lower your risk of disability and shorten your recovery after a stroke, especially when paired with comprehensive follow-up care. That’s why we not only provide 24/7 care for acute stroke at so many of our emergency rooms, but nurse navigators who will help you and your loved ones get the care and guidance you need after leaving the hospital.
Quick, accurate diagnosis and treatment
You can lose 2 million brain cells every minute a stroke goes untreated. That's why reacting fast to stroke signs is critical to improving your chances of recovery. That’s why Novant Health operates eight stroke centers, where neurologists, neurosurgeons and nurses are available 24/7 to assess and treat acute stroke.
Once you arrive in our emergency room, your physician will order a CT scan. We use artificial intelligence (AI) to instantly process your CT images so we can identify large vessel blockages or brain bleeds and begin treatments as soon as possible.
Emergency Stroke Treatments
If you have blood clots because 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. They will then inject tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or other drugs through the catheter to dissolve the clot. When 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.
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).
If you have had a large vessel stroke and meet specific criteria, you may be a good candidate for a mechanical thrombectomy . In this procedure, your neurosurgeon physically removes a blood clot using a device attached to a catheter. The device enters through an artery, goes to the blocked area and grabs the clot.
This less invasive procedure is used to prevent aneurysms, including those caused by ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), from rupturing and causing a brain hemorrhage. A surgeon uses x-ray imaging to guide a coil or other object through a catheter inserted into an artery in your arm or leg to seal off the blood vessel where the aneurysm has occurred.
During this procedure a surgeon removes a portion of the skull temporarily to relieve pressure from swelling. While a craniotomy is most often used to treat hemorrhagic stroke patients, it can also be used to treat ischemic stroke.
Rapid Response Stroke Care
Watch a Stroke Team in action.
You've just had a stroke. Here's what happens next.
The Support You Need After a Stroke
Recovering from a stroke can be challenging. There are many things to consider, from understanding your diagnosis and treatment options to accessing outpatient rehabilitation services and community support resources when you are ready to go home. That's where our stroke navigators come in. These specially trained registered nurses will provide support throughout your hospital stay and after you've been discharged at no extra charge. They can help:
- Explain your diagnosis and treatment options
- Answer any questions you or your family may have
- Help you connect with rehabilitation services and other specialists to ensure you receive the follow-up care you need promptly
- Connect you with community-based resources, such as patient support groups
Nurse navigators are available at all three of our comprehensive stroke centers.
If you have experienced ischemic stroke, your provider may prescribe medications to lower your risk of future strokes, including:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix), an antiplatelet medication
- Warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor®), a statin
- Simvastatin (Zocor®), a statin
Stroke rehabilitation & recovery
If you have a stroke or another neurological injury or disease of the brain or spinal cord, the road to recovery can be overwhelming. Our stroke rehabilitation specialists will begin working with you bedside at the hospital through all stages of your recovery.
Our comprehensive stroke centers provide effective therapy options geared to your individual needs, including:
- Medical management: We may administer drugs such as blood pressure medication, ACE inhibitors and antidepressants.
- Physical therapy: We'll help you strengthen your muscles and improve coordination and range of motion.
- Occupational therapy: You'll relearn how to do daily tasks such as cooking, dressing, bathing and exercising.
- Speech therapy: Our speech therapists will help you regain the ability to swallow, speak and process language.
- Functional restoration: We use advanced technology to improve arm and hand movement, walking and foot drop symptoms.
- Cognitive and communication exercises: Our specialists will work with you to improve memory, attention and concentration skills.
- Botox® injections: These muscle-relaxing drugs can reduce spasticity in your arms and legs.
- Individual and family psychological services: Our support services can address post-stroke symptoms such as depression, anxiety and social isolation.
- Educational training for coping and adjustment: We'll teach you coping mechanisms to help you overcome challenges associated with stroke recovery.