The caring professionals at the Advanced Primary Stroke Center provide:

  • Accurate diagnoses, using the latest procedures and equipment
  • Compassionate treatment across the continuum of care
  • Current information for the prevention of stroke 


  • Neuroimaging

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces a 3-dimensional, detailed image of the head, which is used to pinpoint the size and location of a stroke.
    • MR angiography is a thorough MRI study of the blood vessels.
    • Computed tomography (CT) perfusion is cutting-edge imaging used to help neurologists determine the best treatment for a stroke patient.
    • Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography (TTE, TEE) are tests that use ultrasound waves to take pictures of the heart and the circulating blood. They are useful in helping to determine the cause of a stroke.
    • Carotid duplex scanning is a test that uses ultrasound waves to take a picture of the carotid arteries in the neck, which carry blood to the brain.
  • The NIH Stroke Scale is a test done by certified nurses to assess the extent of injury and to make sure that the stroke has stabilized.

  • Neuro checks, also done by nurses, are a series of questions asked to stroke patients, such as: “What is the date? What time is it? Where are you?” They also test the strength of a patient’s arms and legs. These are ways to monitor the effects of a stroke.

  • ABCD2 is the latest tool to help doctors determine whether patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) should be admitted to the hospital. (A TIA is a “ministroke,” or “warning stroke,” that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage.) Patients with a score higher than 3 are admitted to the hospital.

Symptom Score
Age older than 60 years  1 point
Systolic blood pressure = 140 mm Hg 1 point
Diastolic blood pressure = 90 mm Hg 1 point
Unilateral weakness 2 points
Speech impairment without weakness 1 point
TIA duration = 60 minutes 2 points
TIA duration 10 - 59 minutes 1 point
Diabetes  1 point


  • Acute care (immediate, short-term care in the hospital) for stroke patients includes a wide range of treatments, depending on the type and severity of the stroke.
    • Emergency treatment, if necessary
    • Medications to prevent blood clots from forming
    • Tests to measure blood sugar, risk of heart attack, and the level of oxygen in the blood
    • Constant monitoring of vital signs, including heart activity
  • Secondary care involves treatment in the hospital to prevent complications. It focuses on helping patients overcome some of stroke’s most serious effects and to help make them as independent as possible. Most often specialists are called in.

    • Surgical procedures, including carotid artery stenting, catheter ablation, and minimaze to open blocked arteries
    • Interventional radiology, a medical specialty where doctors use imaging technologies to discover blockages in arteries and to treat damaged arteries
    • Continual monitoring of the extent of injury to be sure that the stroke has stabilized and to prevent complications
    • Creation of a plan of care with the help of the stroke care coordinator and speech therapist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist
    • Information on self-care, at-home care, family involvement, rehabilitation facilities, and preventing a second stroke
  • Follow-up care is treatment for stroke patients after they leave the hospital and move on to a rehabilitation center or back home.
    • Physical therapy: relearning to walk, sit, lie down, switch from one type of movement to another
    • Occupational therapy: relearning to eat, drink, swallow, dress, bathe, cook, read, write, use the toilet
    • Speech therapy: relearning speech and language skills
    • Psychological therapy: help in dealing with mental or emotional problems
  • Palliative care is hospice care in a hospital setting. It addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs of the dying person and the family. A new Palliative Care Center will be located within Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. 


The Advanced Primary Stroke Center provides a wide assortment of resources used in the prevention of stroke:

  • Referrals and partnerships with community groups
  • Involvement in support groups
  • Free publications
  • Web sources
  • Stroke awareness campaigns 
  • Expert speakers available to make presentations to community groups