Capital Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Program

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Capital Health offers Joint Commission accredited stroke programs at both its Trenton and Hopewell Township hospitals.


Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment

Time is critical in the treatment of stroke. With early intervention, our stroke team can safeguard the quality of your life after stroke, but a lot depends on how fast you get treatment.


Among the critical pieces offered as part of Capital Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Program for rapid diagnosis:

  • Advanced Diagnostics including computed tomography (CT scan), CT Perfusion, CT Angiography and MRI available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Pre-Hospital Stroke Alert. When a patient suspected of having a stroke is being brought to our hospital our EMS team is trained to initiate a stroke alert from the field, which allows patients to bypass triage and go directly to CT Scan to meet our team, saving valuable time. TPA (a clot busting medication) times are faster with pre-hospital stroke alert than without, which equates to faster, more efficient treatment. The neurological emergency room and pre-hospital stroke alert: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Neurosurgery. 2014 Mar;74(3):281-5
  • 24/7 access to a stroke team dedicated to quick diagnosis and rapid intervention
  • Patients who require admission to our hospital are admitted to either our dedicated Neuro Intensive Care Unit or a neurological unit, depending on the severity of their illness.

At Capital Health, treatment using clot busting medications can be given to limit or even eliminate disabilities associated with a stroke if a person receives treatment within three hours of the onset of symptoms and meets certain criteria. TPA, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, is used in cases of acute “ischemic” stroke, the most common form of stroke. tPA can dissolve the blockage and restore cerebral blood flow. 

Capital Health also offers neuroendovascular interventions, in our dedicated suite, for appropriate patients. This can include retrieval of the blood clot that is blocking the flow of blood using minimally invasive techniques.

Time is brain and every minute counts!

It is a well-documented fact that hospitals with a dedicated stroke program have better outcomes and shorter hospital stays for patients.


Capital Health’s Stroke Team is a multi-disciplinary team which includes, among others

  • Board-certified neurologists
  • Board-certified neuro-radiologists
  • Neuroendovascular team
  • Neurosurgery
  • Neuro-Intensivists
  • Emergency Department physicians and staff
  • Dedicated Stroke Coordinator
  • Dedicated neuroscience operating room RNs, endovascular intervention RNs
  • Neuro anesthesiologists and neuro nurse anesthetists
  • EMS and paramedics trained in Advanced Stroke Life Support
  • Magnet recognized and stroke/neuroscience trained nurses
  • Stroke nurse practitioner
  • Physical therapists and physical therapy aides
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech pathologists
  • Social workers
  • Support staff

Stroke Symptoms are a Medical Emergency. Call 911

If you, or someone else, experience any of the symptoms of a stroke – don’t wait. Call 911 immediately. Treatment can be effective if given quickly. Remember- every minute counts.

Capital Health trains not only our local EMS, but EMS from surrounding counties and neighboring states to help recognize stroke symptoms in the field. The goal is to increase the speed with which stroke can be diagnosed and treated.


Symptoms of a Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg- especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause 

What is a Stroke?

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic.

An ischemic stroke, which accounts for the vast majority of strokes, occurs when a blood vessel is blocked, cutting off the flow of blood to part of the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding into or around the brain. Causes of hemorrhagic stroke can include a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), or arterial walls breaking open. A cerebral aneurysm (one located in the brain) is a weakened spot that has bulged or ballooned out from the side of the artery. Frequently, these “pouches” occur at the point at which a blood vessel branches. Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are tangles of arteries and veins.


What is Your Risk for a Stroke?

There are many risk factors associated with a stroke some of which you can control and some you cannot, according to the American Stroke Association.


Risk Factors you can change, treat or control include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Carotid or other artery disease
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Other heart disease 
  • Sickle cell disease (also called sickle cell anemia)
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity and obesity

Risk Factors You Cannot Change

  • Age (Over the age of 55, your risk goes up)
  • Family History
  • Race (African Americans, Hispanics or Asian/Pacific Islanders have a greater risk)
  • Gender (Stroke is more common in males, but more women die from stroke)
  • Prior stroke, TIA, or heart attack

You can learn more at:

www.strokeassociation.org

www.stroke.org

www.ninds.nih.gov

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