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EDWARD Hospital and Health Services

Acute Ischemic Stroke


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Edward Hospital is a Joint Commission Stroke Center of Excellence and Primary Stroke Center and has earned Joint Commission Disease-Specific Certification as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

At Edward, patients suspected of having a stroke are immediately evaluated and treated by a "Stroke Team" from the Edward Emergency Department and Edward Neurosciences Institute in affiliation with Northwestern Medicine. The team is specially trained to ensure rapid triage and treatment of stroke patients.

What is an Acute Ischemic Stroke?

Stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to the brain and is sometimes called a "brain attack." Stroke happens every 45 seconds to someone in the United States and is the leading cause of disability, but it can be treated if you get help quickly.

Acute ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This can happen in two ways:

A clot may form in an artery that is already very narrow. This is called a thrombotic stroke.A clot may break off from another place in the blood vessels of the brain, or from some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain. This is called an embolic stroke.

There are also hemorrhagic strokes, caused when a blood vessel in the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain.


What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

The American Stroke Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Time is Brain

When an individual develops signs and symptoms of stroke, call 911 for Emergency Medical Services and immediate transport via ambulance to the Edward Emergency Department.

Muscle weakness, slurred speech, facial droop and severe dizziness are often ignored or mistaken for something else, but often they are signs of a stroke, and care must be received as quickly as possible, often within just three hours, to receive life-saving treatment. Every second delayed could mean a life not saved or serious disability.

How Edward Treats Strokes

The Emergency Medical Services providers have special stroke training. They will do a neuro assessment and draw laboratory specimens in the ambulance. At Edward, a "Code Stroke" is activated which brings together a team of individuals specially trained in stroke care, including an Emergency Department (ED) physician, ED registered nurse, neurologist, radiologist, CT scan technician, neuro APN (advanced practice nurse) and stroke coordinator.

When the patient arrives:

  • A special neurological exam is performed.
  • Within minutes, the patient is taken for a STAT CT scan to determine the presence of blood or evidence of clot in the brain.
  • The stroke team, including the neurologist, determines if the patient is a candidate for tissue – plasminogen activator (t-PA), a clot busting medication. This medicine breaks up blood clots and helps bring back blood flow to the damaged area.
  • If the patient is eligible for t-PA (depends on neuro assessment score, time of symptoms, past medical history), this medication is prepared and administered over one hour.
  • If the patient is not a candidate for t-PA, they will be evaluated for possible mechanical clot retrieval by the neurointerventionalist.
  • Following intravenous t-PA or determining eligibility for mechanical clot retrieval, the patient will have additional imaging studies that could include CT Angiography, Perfusion CT, MR Angiography or Perfusion MRI.
  • If symptoms resolve with t-PA, no further procedures will be done. The patient will be admitted to the Neuro Intensive Care Unit for close monitoring.
  • If the patient requires mechanical clot retrieval, the neurointerventionalist will explain the procedure to the patient and family.
  • The patient is transported directly to the Neurointerventional Lab for the procedure.

Mechanical Clot Retrieval

Using minimally invasive technology, a neurointerventionalist from the Edward Neurosciences Institute maneuvers a tiny, thin Merci, Penumbra or Solitaire Clot Retrieval catheter through an artery in the patient's leg, past the heart and into the blood vessels in the far reaches of the brain. Clear 3-D, digital images guide the neurointerventionalist to the clot where it's grabbed and removed – stopping or even reversing the effects of the stroke.


Stroke Recovery

Following a stroke, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and swallowing therapy begin in the hospital. The goal of treatment after a stroke is to help the patient recover as much function as possible and prevent future strokes. Recovery time is different for each person. Problems moving, thinking and talking often improve in the weeks to months after a stroke.

Stroke recovery can be a lengthy process requiring complex care in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Mohammad Sajed, Medical Director of Edward Hospital's Neuro ICU, is a neurocritical care physician who's also board certified in vascular stroke neurology. Under his direction, critically ill neurological patients receive the latest in medical management, including frequent neurological assessments that can detect subtle changes in neurological function and potential for complications.

Patients require integrated care from the Edward Neurosciences Institute's team of neurologists, neurointerventional surgeons, neurosurgeons, skilled critical care nurses and rehabilitation therapists to maximize their functional recovery.

What are the Risk Factors for a Stroke?

Men who are 45 years of age or older and women who are 55 or older should have a stroke and vascular screening if they have one or more of these risk factors:

  • Family history of heart disease or a relative who had a stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes or fasting blood sugar greater than 100
  • Circulatory problems
  • Obesity
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Leg pain

Stroke Aware Online Assessment

Anyone can have a stroke, regardless of age, sex or race. Do you know your risk? Our HealthAware assessments take about five minutes and provide a quick response about your health as well as action steps if you are identified as being at risk. Know your risk. Take the free, five-minute StrokeAware test. It could save your life.


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Edward Hospital & Health Services
801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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