Stroke Diagnosis & Treatment

Time and expertise are critical factors when it comes to diagnosing and treating stroke effectively. That’s why as an Comprehensive Stroke Center, University Hospital has a comprehensive team of stroke specialists on staff 24/7. Our team puts its skills, experience and advanced technology to work immediately to diagnose and begin treatment as quickly as possible when you’ve suffered a stroke.

Our track record of success assures that you’re in good hands.

Types of Stroke

There are different kinds of stroke.

  • Ischemic stroke – occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – occurs when bleeding into the brain is caused by a broken blood vessel
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – mini or warning stroke, occurs when a clot blocks blood flow temporarily

Diagnosing and treating stroke by dissolving the blood clot or stopping bleeding quickly reduces the risk of brain damage.

Diagnosing Stroke Type & Speeding Treatment Process

Our stroke-trained neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiologists work together to diagnose the type of stroke, and speed the treatment process to give you a better chance of a more complete recovery.

Diagnostic Testing for Stroke

If paramedics suspect stroke, they send a stroke alert to the University Hospital stroke team. When you arrive to the University emergency department, our team is ready to immediately assess your condition to determine the type of stroke you’re having and what areas of your brain are affected. That allows them to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Diagnosis includes talking with you or family members about the symptoms you’ve been having, when they started and what you were doing when they began. You’ll also undergo a physical exam and blood tests, along with diagnostic testing using the most advanced imaging technology available, which may include:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan — creates a detailed image that can show bleeding in the brain
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — shows changes in brain tissue and cells
  • MR and CT perfusion scan — show blood flow in the brain
  • CT arteriogram (CTA) and magnetic resonance arteriogram (MRA) — show large blood vessels and location of a blood clot
  • Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiogram — look at your heart to determine if there is an abnormality that could have caused a stroke
  • Cerebral angiogram — gives a detailed view of arteries in your brain and neck
  • Carotid ultrasound — shows the carotid arteries in the neck, and if there is a buildup of fatty deposits (plaque)

Treatment for Ischemic Stroke

Treatment for an ischemic stroke focuses on either dissolving or removing the clot blocking blood flow to your brain.

A clot-dissolving medication known as tPA is effective in reducing or preventing damage to your brain tissue by dissolving the blood clot and improving blood flow back into the affected area. University Hospital’s rates for using tPA are above the national average, which means more people have been able to take advantage of this time-sensitive treatment.

Another, newer treatment is available called mechanical thrombectomy. This method involves removing blood clots entirely from the brain, and may be performed for patients with ischemic strokes occurring in a large vessel.

Treatment for Hemorrhagic Stroke

Treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke focuses on repairing the cause of bleeding and relieving pressure in your brain. Our stroke experts use advanced, minimally invasive endovascular procedures or neurosurgery to repair the cause of the stroke.

Treatment for Transient Ischemic Attack

Although a TIA results in the symptoms of a stroke and no lasting damage, according to the American Heart Association, you’re 10 times more likely to have another stroke than someone of the same age and gender who hasn’t had a TIA. As a “warning” stroke, a TIA is an opportunity to prevent a future stroke.

Once our specialists determine the cause of the transient ischemic attack, treatment focuses on correcting the cause, usually with medication to reduce blood clotting, or with a minimally invasive procedure to open blocked arteries.

Specialized Neurocritical Care

You may require intensive, round-the-clock care and monitoring after your stroke treatment. The critical care team on our neuroscience intensive care unit has the training, experience and access to advanced technology to provide the specialized care you need to recover as fully as possible.

Stroke Rehabilitation

University hospital is equipped to get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible after a stroke. We provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to help you return to the highest level of recovery possible. Our Reeves Rehabilitation Center specialists provide inpatient and outpatient therapies and services individualized for your specific needs.