When Stroke Occurs, You Need Expert Help – Fast.

Every second counts when stroke occurs. That's why St. Luke’s Primary Stroke Center is designed to provide rapid-response and treatment for acute stroke patients. We are nationally certified for our ability to treat strokes fast.

Our designation as a Primary Stroke Center means that we’re committed to a higher level of care. That includes an expert team, advanced treatment options, and the critical technology needed to restore blood flow while it’s still possible to limit damage.  

All this, to ensure the highest level of quality stroke care and support, so you can safely return to living life as normally and quickly as possible.

Primary Stroke Center Accreditation means you’ll get expert help, and you’ll get it fast.

Excellence runs throughout our heart and vascular program, including our Primary Stroke Center. St. Luke’s Hospital has received certification from DNV GL Healthcare as a Primary Stroke Center. This certification confirms our readiness to handle a full range of stroke-related medical problems and that we have the resources and commitment to provide the best possible stroke care.

We’ve invested in the right equipment, personnel and training to quickly assess and treat strokes.

The St. Luke’s Primary Stroke Center team includes a vascular neurologist who has completed a fellowship in stroke, the expertise of a stroke coordinator who follows every stroke case, plus a dedicated rehabilitation unit to help stroke patients return to everyday life as safely and quickly as possible.

Causes a stroke.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients, which can cause brain cells to die.

A stroke may be caused by a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Some people may experience only a temporary disruption of blood flow to their brain (transient ischemic attack, or TIA).

Risk factors for stroke.

There are many factors that can increase your risk of a stroke. Potentially treatable stroke risk factors include:

Lifestyle risk factors:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy or binge drinking
  • Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines

Medical risk factors:

  • High blood pressure — the risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)
  • Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obstructive sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which the oxygen level intermittently drops during the night
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm

Other factors associated with a higher risk of stroke include:

  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack
  • Being age 55 or older
  • Race — African-Americans have a higher risk of stroke than people of other races
  • Gender — Men have a higher risk of stroke than women

Complications caused by stroke.

A stroke can cause temporary or permanent disabilities, depending on how long blood flow to the brain is restricted, and which part of the brain was affected.

Complications may include:

  • Paralysis or loss of muscle movement that may affect one side of the body. Physical therapy may help with regaining movement and control
  • Difficulty talking or swallowing. Therapy with a speech and language pathologist may help
  • Partial memory loss, difficulty thinking, making judgments, reasoning and understanding concepts
  • Emotional problems. Difficulty controlling your emotions, or depression may develop
  • Pain, numbness or other strange sensations in the parts of your body affected by stroke
  • Sensitivity to temperature changes, especially extreme cold after a stroke
  • Changes in behavior, sometimes becoming more withdrawn and less social or more impulsive
  • Limited ability for self-care and daily activities

As with any brain injury, the success of treating these complications will vary from person to person, but the key to limiting damage is getting treatment fast.

Stroke rehabilitation designed to help you regain what’s been lost.

If a stroke has left you feeling like you’ve lost some control and ability, you’ll be happy to know that St. Luke’s Primary Stroke Clinic includes as designated rehabilitation unit that is staffed and equipped with caring professionals and advanced technology.

There are numerous approaches to stroke rehabilitation, some of which are still in the early stages of development. We’re dedicated to pursuing and improving every possible way to help you recover as much movement, control and ability as possible.

Stroke rehabilitation at St. Luke’s may include some or all of the following activities, depending on the part of the body or type of ability affected.

Physical activities:

  • Exercises to help improve your muscle strength and coordination, including therapy to help with swallowing
  • Mobility training may include learning to use walking aids, such as a walker or cane, or a plastic brace (orthosis) to stabilize and assist ankle strength
  • Constraint-induced therapy that involves restricting the use of an unaffected limb while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function
  • Range-of-motion therapy using exercises and other treatments to help lessen muscle tension and regain range of motion

Reducing your risk of stroke.

The best approach following a stroke is a proactive one. The American Stroke Association recommends the following lifestyle changes – under the direction of a physician – for reducing the risk of stroke.

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise every day
  • Know your blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages
  • Stop smoking
  • Do not use illicit drugs

The St. Luke’s Primary Stroke Clinic team can help you work these changes into your lifestyle while monitoring your safety and progress.