Stroke Intervention: Every Second Counts
The WVU Stroke Center at WVU Hospitals is designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and care for patients in the tri-state region.
We use cutting-edge treatment options to ensure a greater chance of survival. These treatments can stop a stroke while it is happening or drastically reduce the amount of damage it causes. Patients entering with symptoms of a stroke are rapidly assessed by the WVU Stroke Team, comprised of neurologists, emergency medicine physicians, radiologists and neurosurgeons.
The assessment includes a trio of tests, including CT scan, angiography, and perfusion, which then guide the choice of treatment.
Large Vessel Stroke Treatment
Get with the Guidelines
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
In recognition of its role as a regional and national leader in stroke care, WVU Medicine’s Stroke Center has earned the highest honor possible from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines® program.
The Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Award are reserved for hospital teams who have some of the fastest tPA treatment times in the country and who are consistent high performers in compliance with quality care measures. These are the most up-to-date treatment guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.
Stroke Intervention: Every Second Counts
The Stroke Center at WVU Medicine has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate and treat a stroke in time to minimize damage. WVU Hospitals is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission in recognition of excellence in patient care.
Know the symptoms of stroke. Do not delay in seeking emergency care.
The amount time that elapses between a person having a stroke to the time they reach the hospital is crucial. Learning to recognize the warning signs can increase the chance of a better outcome for the patient.
Using the F.A.S.T. test can help:
- Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.
When a stroke occurs or is suspected, call 911.
The 911 operator will contact an emergency medical service to dispatch an ambulance. When the emergency response team examines the stroke victim, they will contact WVU Hospitals with vital patient information.
Information about Strokes
A stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood (and oxygen) it needs, so it starts to die.
A stroke is a life-threatening emergency.
The multidisciplinary Stroke Team at the WVU Stroke Center is equipped to treat stroke patients and to identify stroke symptoms as quickly as possible. The WVU Medicine Emergency Department has implemented an Acute Stroke Protocol to ensure the rapid evaluation and treatment of patients who are potential candidates for this stroke treatment. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the stroke symptoms, seek qualified help immediately.
- Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
- 750,000 Americans suffer strokes each year
- Approximately 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year
- Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability
- Many strokes are preventable
Types of Strokes
Hemorrhagic Stroke: A disruption in blood flow to the brain due to a sudden rupture of a blood vessel within the brain.
Ischemic Stroke: A sudden decrease in blood flow and oxygen delivery to a portion of the brain caused by a blood clot or a gradual build up of plaque and other fatty deposits, which results in death or injury to brain cells.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): A sudden, temporary decrease in blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain that results in stroke symptoms that fade within an hour.
The WVU Stroke Team includes specialists from the fields of neurosurgery, neurology, radiology and emergency medicine. The newest drug therapies and state-of-the-art technologies are offered to provide timely treatment of stroke, in order to minimize permanent damage. Prevention and rehabilitation services also are offered.
Available treatments include Thrombolytic Agents and Stents
- Thrombolytic Agents, also known as “clot busters”- a therapy used to dissolve blood clots and improve blood flow.
- Intravenous rtPA
- Carotid angioplasty/ Carotid endarterectomy (CEA)
- Endovascular Clot Retrieval
In 1996, the FDA approved the use of a new drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, for the treatment of stroke. The drug is used to dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow that cause many strokes. These drugs can also reduce the amount of damage strokes produce.
The largest drawback to this type of intervention is time, these drugs must be given within three hours from the start of symptoms to be effective.
NOTE: A select number of patients who meet additional, strict criteria may be eligible for tPA treatment up to four and a half hours from onset of symptoms.
The WVU Stroke Center provides:
- An Acute Stroke Team that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including:
- Emergency Medicine Staff, EMS and HealthNet Aeromedical Services
- Neurology and Neurosurgery
- Radiology and Neuro-Interventional Radiology
- Inpatient Clinical Labs
- Rehabilitation Services
- Care Management
- Neurocritical Care and Stroke Units staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of registered nurses and therapists who have received extensive stroke education
- A performance improvement process that uses the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Registry
- Advanced diagnostic and imaging techniques
- Prevention, early intervention, and rehabilitation services provided in the WVU Neurology Clinic for patients who are at risk for stroke or who have had a stroke
The WVU Stroke Center has earned Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission and is a recipient of the American Heart Association Gold Plus Performance Award and Target Stroke Honor Roll.
American Heart Association Award
This certification recognizes healthcare organizations for excellence and offer the best possible outcomes for stroke patients.
Joint Commission Certification
The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations. Learn more about this advanced certification here.
After a stroke, it is vital that patients and their families get the information and support they need. Our dedicated, trained, stroke nursing staff provides support and serves as an invaluable resource for patients and family members regarding rehabilitation and community resources.
The WVU Stroke Center offers a stroke support group that provides education to the stroke survivor and care giver about topics relating to stroke. To learn more about the WVU Stroke Center Stroke Support meetings, please call 304-598-6395.
The program has peer-to-peer counseling and a peer visiting training program for stroke survivors, their family members, friends and others. The program takes participants through a series of classes designed to address the physical, mental, and emotional changes stroke survivors may face after their stroke.
After completing the program, peer visitors are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to help others move forward after their stroke. The program allows people with a common bond to share their experiences, encourage progress, and lend support throughout the recovery process.
Click to learn more…Stroke survivor brings hope to stroke patients
Below are some additional stroke resources for information and support.
WVU Medicine is a leader in stroke care and an award-winning Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Center. We offer advanced neuroscience treatments for all types of strokes. We are commitment to providing the best possible stroke care to every patient.
In 2016, the WVU Medicine Stroke Team:
Treated all types of strokes.
tPA, the clot-busting medication, is the FDA approved standard of care for patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke. Patients who meet the criteria and are known to be less than three hours from onset of symptoms are eligible to receive this medication. WVU Medicine is committed to providing tPA to every patient who qualifies. In 2016, we met the goal 100% of the time.
Note: A select number of patients who meet additional, strict criteria may be eligible for tPA treatment up to four and a half hours from onset of symptoms.
Some of the large vessel occlusion (LVO) ischemic strokes can be treated with mechanical clot-retrieval through our interventional neuroradiology specialists. WVU Medicine has provided this treatment 24/7 for over a decade. In addition, the Stroke Team offers 24/7 neurosurgical coverage for strokes requiring surgical intervention.
Treated more patients who qualified for the clot buster tPA than the national average
Was faster at treating ischemic strokes with tPA and mechanical clot-retrieval than the national average.
Treated a greater percentage of stroke patients faster than the 60 minute and 45 minute AHA/ASA recommended treatment goals than the national average.
Had fewer bleeding complications than the national average for stroke patients treated with tPA and mechanical clot-retrieval.
WVU Medicine experts work together to provide many additional cutting-edge stroke procedures.
Consistently meets or exceeds the national average on Joint Commission stroke quality measures.
Stroke quality measures are the best practice for stroke care recommended by The Joint Commission, American Heart Association, and American Stroke Association based on the most up-to-date research and quality data.
In 2016 and 2017, we expanded our Telestroke coverage to help fill the gap for the shortage of neurologists in the state.