Advanced Stroke Treatments
Centura Health offers numerous emergency treatment options aimed at limiting and possibly reversing stroke injury and preventing recurrent stroke.
The right treatment at the right time
For many years, stroke was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Now, thanks to advances in technology and treatment options — like those at Centura Health — it’s fifth. Our treatment options include the latest imaging software and minimally invasive emergency interventional techniques. Innovative technology paired with a multidisciplinary staff of neurologists, neurosurgeons and emergency room staff means you’ll receive faster, evidence-based care that’s been shown to improve outcomes. And with our stroke team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can rest assured that we’re here when you need us most.
Centura delivers the right treatment at the right time, which can often mean the difference between life and death when it comes to a stroke. In recent years, care for stroke, especially the most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke (caused by a blocked artery), has evolved from supportive care to interventional treatments. In Centura’s Stroke and Neurovascular Program, neurointerventional specialists use minimally invasive techniques to treat brain aneurysms, open blocked arteries in the brain and remove clots in brain arteries.
Because seconds count when it comes to stroke treatment, our expert team of neurosurgeons and neurointerventionists specializes in emergency care of ischemic (caused by reduced blood flow to brain) and hemorrhagic (caused by bleeding in or near the brain) strokes.
We offer numerous emergency treatment options aimed at limiting and possibly reversing stroke injury and preventing recurrent stroke:
SchemaView RAPID Technology
RAPID advanced imaging software quickly analyzes CT and MRI scans of those having acute strokes in real time, allowing doctors to rapidly assess the severity of the stroke and determine the most appropriate treatment, potentially saving brain tissue. The RAPID technology also gives our stroke team the ability to share these images that clearly illustrate the part of the brain that’s been damaged and parts that are at risk, which helps you or your loved ones better understand the treatment options.
IV tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)
Considered the gold standard of ischemic stroke treatment, tPA is a blood clot-dissolving drug inserted through an IV in a patient’s arm. If a clot is found to be blocking a large brain artery, a small catheter can be placed within the blockage to deliver tPA directly into the clot, potentially restoring normal blood flow to your brain. Administering tPA directly into a clot is a therapy targeted for patients who arrive more than four and a half, but within six hours, from the start of stroke symptoms.
Blood clot extraction
When tPA cannot be used, clot extraction is an option for some stroke patients. We use a special device to remove clots from blocked brain arteries, up to eight hours after the onset of stroke symptoms. The retriever is guided through a catheter into to the brain artery where the clot is lodged. The tip of the retriever has a series of loops, like a wire mesh, which the doctor maneuvers to grab the clot and slowly pull it out of the artery. The device can be highly effective in treating large blood clots — the kind that cause more severe strokes.
Blood clot aspiration
Centura’s neurointerventional specialists use a special interventional system for removing large clots in the brain when treatment with tPA is not appropriate or appears to be ineffective. This system uses a special suction method to remove the clot and rapidly restore blood flow in the brain to limit damage caused by stroke. Aspiration and catheterization treatment can be effective when used within eight hours of symptom onset.
Preventing recurrent stroke
Your treatment doesn’t end when you leave our hospital. Here’s why: A person who has suffered a stroke has a much higher risk of having another one, compared to a person who has never had a stroke. After you receive treatment for stroke, our stroke team assesses your risk and takes steps to help you prevent another stroke. Neurological evaluations are performed frequently to monitor any change in your condition as soon as possible. For those who have spasm of blood vessels in the brain due to brain hemorrhage, specialized ultrasound monitoring is performed to guide therapy.
Stroke patients may receive the following:
- Anticoagulation therapy — For patients with atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart beat), blood does not pump completely out of the smaller, upper chambers of the heart and may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot leaves the heart and becomes lodged in a brain artery, a stroke results. Anticoagulation therapy involves prescribing blood-thinning medication that helps to prevent the formation of blood clots in the heart.
- Stroke education — Educational materials and support for patients and care providers
- Smoking cessation counseling — Smoking is a serious risk factor for a stroke. Before discharge, stroke patients who smoke receive counseling and information on ways to quit smoking.
- Antithrombotic medication — Within 48 hours of hospitalization, patients recovering from a mild stroke or who have had a recent transient ischemic attack (“ministroke”) are at high risk of having another stroke. Antithrombotic drugs, which prevent the formation of blood clots in arteries, are given with 48 hours of symptom onset in acute ischemic stroke patients who meet certain guidelines for these drugs.