Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center at University Hospitals

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center is the first hospital in Northeast Ohio to achieve The Joint Commission’s rigorous standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification. This certification showcases our ability to treat the most complex stroke cases. UH Cleveland Medical Center is the second designated Comprehensive Stroke Center in Ohio and the 19th in the U.S.

As a UH-designated Center of Excellence, the Comprehensive Stroke Center brings together leading experts from a variety of disciplines who collaborate using the latest clinical advances and technologies. Many are involved in nationally funded research that may lead to future innovations in medical care.

Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain is deprived of oxygen and can be significantly affected.

Approximately 800,000 people suffer from stroke each year. It is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability.

The symptoms of stroke are usually sudden, and unexpected, in onset. If you think you or your loved one is having symptoms of a stroke, there are 5 quick questions to ask:

  1. Do they suddenly have trouble walking? Veering off to one side? Dragging one leg? Unable to stand?
  2. Do they suddenly have slurred speech, difficulty talking or understanding, or a facial droop on one side?
  3. Do they have sudden weakness or numbness in their face, arm or leg, especially if it involves one side of the body?
  4. Do they suddenly have blurred vision or loss of vision in one eye- like a shade over their vision- or to one side of their visual field?
  5. Do they have a sudden, severe headache- especially if it is uncharacteristic or the worst of their life?

If the answer to any one of these questions is “yes,” call 9-1-1. Even if the symptoms initially go away, it is critical to seek treatment immediately.

Sophisticated Technology for Accurate Diagnosis

When a patient comes to any UH hospital across our regional locations, we use state-of-the-art technology to detect stroke symptoms and damage, including:

  • Magnetic resonance (MRI) diffusion and perfusion: The most sensitive test to detect stroke damage- within minutes of onset- this scan can identify patients with an acute stroke, even out to 24 hours, to reverse potential damage and improve recovery.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA): This scan provides clear images of the brain arteries without the need to inject any contrast.
  • Magnetic resonance venography (MRV): This scan provides clear images of the veins in the brain without the need to inject any contMrast.
  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA): Rapidly available 24/7 at all UH medical centers, this scan uses an injection of iodine contrast to rapidly identify any areas of artery blockage or narrowing or artery abnormalities such as aneurysms and AVMs that require urgent treatment.
  • Computed tomography (CT) perfusion: With a rapid infusion of contrast dye, the amount and speed of blood flow can be measured to visualize the brain tissue that can be saved with urgent treatment to prevent a stroke.
  • Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT): This imaging test uses gamma rays to provide 3-D images of the brain to measure how well the brain has compensated for a brain artery blockage.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scans: PET scans are sometimes used to measure cerebral metabolism and blood flow.
  • Carotid duplex scans: This readily accessible and noninvasive ultrasound test visualizes the arteries in the neck to determine if there is plaque formation, narrowing or if any blockages are present.
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD): This non-invasive ultrasound test uses sound waves to measure blood flow in the arteries inside the brain.

Once we determine the nature of your condition, our board-certified stroke specialist will decide on the most appropriate stroke treatment that will meet your specific needs. Depending on the severity of your stroke, you may be moved immediately into the angiography suite or into surgery for life-saving treatment.

UH Provides Minimally Invasive Stroke Treatments

University Hospitals provides advanced treatment for stroke patients with innovative and minimally invasive therapies. We were one of the first to offer neurointerventional treatments, where a small tube is advanced through an artery in the groin to reach the brain and repair blocked or ruptured blood vessels without the need for surgery. We also have other nonsurgical treatments, such as like Gamma Knife and CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery, that use radiation to treat conditions as an alternative to surgery. Our expert vascular neurosurgeons also offer many advanced surgical options to clip or coil aneurysms or AVMs as well as repair and bypass arteries. We also use drug therapy to reduce and eliminate clots from forming.

As with other neurovascular conditions, there is 24/7 availability for emergency admissions and transfers, so you can receive rapid interventions, if necessary.

Our Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit is staffed by physicians who specialize in neurology and critical care – called neurointensivists. In addition, our team includes specialty-trained nurses who provide around-the-clock care for critically ill stroke recovery patients.

Through recovery, we also provide leading-edge stroke therapy and rehabilitation, helping individuals quickly regain quality of life.

As part of University Hospitals dedication to improve the health of our communities, we work to prevent strokes through our dedicated Stroke Prevention Clinic. We offer risk assessments, follow-up care during stroke recovery and ongoing therapy and management of stroke conditions that can coexist with stroke, such as stroke-related pain, spasticity, seizures, memory loss, balance disorders and other vascular diseases.

Providing All-inclusive Care Close to Home

Our stroke teams at University Hospitals deliver comprehensive stroke care across northeast Ohio. Many of our UH regional hospitals are designated Primary Stroke Centers which means they meet national standards for excellence in stroke diagnosis and treatment. Patients can expect the same high-level of stroke care across our convenient locations. If you have questions about stroke prevention or any of our stroke services, contact one of our team members today. Additionally, UH offers a variety of patient resources including stroke support groups, free stroke screenings and tips to prevent a stroke.