Stroke and Aneurysm

Know the signs for stroke 

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, or when an aneurysm—a weakened area of a blood vessel that “balloons” over time—ruptures and causes bleeding in the brain. Both conditions reduce the brain’s oxygen supply and cells die. The process can lead to long-term disability or death.

Experts at Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute are able to treat strokes caused by a blood clot by administering clot-busting medications and through advanced neuroendovascular procedures, which mechanically remove a clot from a blood vessel in the brain. Our doctors can also treat an aneurysm-related stroke with neurointerventional surgery.

What is neurointerventional surgery?
This minimally invasive technique is performed by neurointerventional radiologists to remove blood clots, treat bleeding in the brain, aneurysm and other vascular diseases. The procedure requires a tiny incision through which a catheter is inserted into a vein or artery to treat the problem area. Patients can experience faster recovery and less risk with this technique than traditional, more invasive surgery.

The Stroke Clinic
Experiencing a stroke can be frightening and overwhelming for patients and their family members. They often leave the hospital with many questions about what happened and what to expect going forward.

The Bon Secours Stroke Clinic offers a special program to help patients recover and avoid future strokes. At their follow-up appointment one to two weeks after discharge, patients review their imaging and test results with their doctor, discuss their rehabilitation plan and review their medications. Patients and family members can get answers to questions about their stroke and learn how to avoid future strokes.

The Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute has the largest neurointerventional practice in Virginia. And all of Bon Secours’ hospitals are Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Centers, a certification given only to facilities that adhere to strict, evidence-based standards of stroke care.

What should you do if you suspect stroke?
To help identify stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

• Face: Sudden weakness or drooping of the face, or vision problems
• Arm: Sudden weakness or numbness of one or both arms
• Speech: Difficulty speaking; slurred or garbled speech
• Time: Don’t wait! Call 9-1-1 immediately if stroke is suspected.

Getting help fast for a stroke is critical. Early treatment can save lives and minimize damage.

The highly trained interdisciplinary team of clinicians who are dedicated to our neuroscience & stroke patients include:

• Emergency Department Nursing staff trained and certified above the requirements for PSC Certification, trained to rapidly respond to a “Stroke Alert”
• Board Certified Neurologists with a paging system dedicated to the stroke program “Stroke Alert”
• Speech Language Pathologist, Physical Therapists, & Occupational Therapists dedicated to the Neuroscience Unit for rapid rehabilitation evaluation and treatment services
• Intensely trained staff of neuroscience nurses, many of whom are ABNN Board Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurses.

The latest technology has been acquired and is used to perform rapid evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke patients at the St. Mary’s Hospital Primary Stroke Center.

Medical Services provided as part of the Primary Stroke Center are not limited to, but include:

• Point of care testing in the Emergency Department to provide lab results and imaging in minutes.
• 28-bed Neuroscience Telemetry Unit & Neuroscience Step-down Unit, with exclusively private rooms.
• State of the art, 64 slice CT scanner adjoining the Emergency Department for ultra-fast head imaging.
• Bi-Plane interventional imaging system for cerebral angiography, delivery of intra-arterial thrombolytics & use of the MERCI ischemic stroke clot removal system.

Intravenous thrombolytic therapy
The latest clot-busting medications, delivered through an IV.

Intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy
Medications delivered directly to the clot in patients with blood vessel blockage.

Clot retrieval
Isolation and removal of the clot causing blockage in the vessel to the brain.

Surgical treatment for vascular lesions, intra-cranial bleeding, intra-cranial aneurysm, subdural hematoma and brain tumor.

Endovascular carotid stents

Surgical placement of tubes which can open blocked arteries leading to the brain.

Endovascular closure
Surgical closing of an opening in the upper chambers of the heart (Patent Foramen Ovale/PFO).

Rehabilitation: In-patient and out-patient services
Dedicated rehab services provided at Sheltering Arms Rehabilitation Hospital.