What Is a Stroke?
When a stroke occurs, blood flow to the brain gets disrupted by a:
- Blood clot, which causes an ischemic stroke
- Ruptured artery, also known as a hemorrhagic stroke
Brain tissue in the affected area cannot survive without blood flow and the oxygen it delivers. Every minute your brain goes without oxygen, your risk of life-changing complications goes up. These complications may include paralysis, difficulty speaking and memory loss.
If you or a loved one experiences signs of stroke, including confusion or difficulty moving, dial 911. This is the quickest way to access emergency stroke care.
Emergency Stroke Care at Nuvance Health
Nuvance Health delivers nationally recognized stroke care that can help save your life and preserve your well-being. We offer advanced therapies that may increase your chances for survival. Our comprehensive approach includes more of the services you need.
Highlights of our program include:
- National recognition: Some of our facilities, including Sharon Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center, have earned Joint Commission accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center. Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital have Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center Certification from the Joint Commission. This designation recognizes our commitment to delivering quality stroke care, including stroke teams that are available any time, day or night.
- Skilled stroke specialists: You receive services from neurosurgeons and endovascular specialists with additional stroke care training. We count nationally recognized doctors among our skilled staff. The team’s specialized training and experience treating common and complex forms of stroke means you receive appropriate care.
- Timely access: The stroke team comes together within minutes, sometimes before you even get to the hospital. Doctors and nurses work to quickly assess your symptoms, so you receive the right therapies for your needs. We consistently start patients on treatments within an hour of their arrival.
- Innovative therapies: We are the only program in Fairfield County offering mechanical thrombectomy for ischemic stroke. This minimally invasive procedure is the gold standard of care for strokes that do not respond to standard therapies. Read more about mechanical thrombectomy.
Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Stroke Evaluation at Nuvance Health
The stroke treatments that are best for you depend on the type of stroke and its severity, including impact to brain tissue.
Shortly after your arrival, you receive a sophisticated brain scan to:
- Produce 3D images of your blood vessels: Doctors quickly identify the type of stroke and pinpoint its location.
- Plan treatments: Software calculates damage caused by the stroke and helps us determine whether you might benefit from mechanical thrombectomy.
Stroke specialists can view your images in real-time. This technology enables us to coordinate care, even if we are not in the emergency room.
Acute Stroke Treatments
Stroke care includes emergency treatments to restore blood flow to the brain. Emergency stroke treatment may include:
- Clot-busting drugs: Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a treatment for ischemic stroke. In many cases, this drug dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain.
- Mechanical thrombectomy: You may benefit from this procedure if you have an ischemic stroke and tPA is not successful. After making a small incision in your groin, we use long tubes with instruments at the tip to remove the clot.
- Clips or coils: We stop brain bleeds from hemorrhagic stroke by placing tiny clips or coils in the ruptured artery. We use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. Sometimes, traditional surgery, which requires opening a section of your skull, is necessary.
- Surgical blood vessel repair: For hemorrhagic strokes due to abnormal blood vessel formations, you may need surgery. We may apply medical-grade glue to seal the vessel.
Stroke survivors face a high risk of complications, including bleeding, brain swelling and additional strokes. We lower these risks with specialized care and intensive monitoring.
You start your recovery on our dedicated neurosciences floor, where you receive around-the-clock care from specially trained nurses. If nurses detect a slight change in your progress, they quickly notify the on-call stroke neurologist. Our careful attention to your needs keeps your recovery moving forward.
Stroke rehabilitation helps you regain any skills lost due to the stroke, like walking and talking. You start rehabilitation as soon as you are able, which eases your transition back to daily life. Find out more about stroke rehabilitation.