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Stroke and Aneurysm Care

Prevention, treatment, rehabilitation

Lee Health puts special emphasis on stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation – and we have dedicated teams in place at multiple locations to make sure you can get the care you need all day, every day.

A stroke is an emergency, and quick treatment gives you the greatest chance for recovery. Multispeciality teams at our certified Stroke Centers use modern diagnostics, equipment, and training to treat you quicker than the national average.

This includes lifesaving neurointerventional procedures such as minimally invasive clot removal for strokes, and stents and coiling brain aneurysms.

Our system is home to two Primary Stroke Centers and a Comprehensive Stroke Centerwhere our patients receive care from specially trained staff:

We are nationally recognized for this outstanding care by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Cutting-edge technology

Lee Health uses leading-edge technology to treat our patients, including:

  • Gulf Coast Medical Center now has a state-of-the-art Siemens Artis Q biplane for interventional imaging
  • Telemedicine to ensure rapid assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke patients in the Emergency Department.

Quality & best practices

Lee Health incorporates national best practices to improve door-to-needle time. Door-to-needle refers to the interval between a patient's arrival to the hospital and the start of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) treatment. The national standard is 60 minutes and the best stroke centers in the nation average 30-40 minutes.

All of Lee Health’s hospitals are well within the national standard with approximately 30% of our patients exceeding the standard receiving treatment in 30 minutes or less

The FAST Approach to stroke symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of stroke allows you to call for help quickly. Time is brain! Identifying a stroke early and calling 911 for help improves patient outcomes.

Face: Does one side droop?

Things to look for or ask:

  • Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the mouth hang lower than the other?
  • Can the person feel you touch their face? Lightly touch them on both sides and ask them if the feeling is the same.

Arms: Does one arm drift downward?

Things to look for or ask:

  • Ask the person to raise both their arms up together. Does one arm begin to fall down?
  • Ask the person to squeeze your fingers with each hand. Is one hand weaker than the other?
  • If you ask the person to try to hold something like a pen, can they do it without any difficulty?
  • Can the person feel you touch them on their arm? Lightly touch them on the skin of both arms and ask them if the feeling is the same on each.

Speech: Are words slurred or mispronounced?

Things to look for or ask:

  • Are they having problems speaking?
  • Are they having problems "getting their words out"?
  • Do they sound like they have something in their mouth when they speak?
  • Are they saying the appropriate words (do their words make sense) when they speak?

Time: Time lost is brain lost?

Action: Call 911 if you experience any one of the symptoms.

Additional Symptoms of Stroke:

  • Sudden NUMBNESS of the face, arm, 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, the “worst headache of your life” with no known cause

Treatment is most effective when started immediately, greatly increasing chances of survival and decreasing chances of brain damage.

If you see the person experiencing just one of these symptoms, even if it goes away, do not wait. Call 911 immediately – tell the dispatcher that the person may be having a stroke and request transport to a hospital certified in stroke care.

Stroke treatment & care

Time is of the essence when it comes to the treatment of stroke, which is why it is vitally important to call 911 if you or someone you are with experiences signs or symptoms of a stroke.

Once at the hospital, the emergency department team must determine whether you have had a stroke. They do this by running a series of tests, which include taking your blood pressure and performing a scan of your brain. A physician will determine which tests will be most helpful.

Medical treatment for stroke

Specific treatment for stroke will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Severity of the stroke
  • Location of the stroke
  • Cause of the stroke
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Type of stroke
  • Your opinion or preference

Emergency treatments for stroke

Treatment is most effective when started immediately. Emergency treatment following a stroke may include the following:

  • Medications used to dissolve the blood clot(s) that cause an ischemic stroke. Medications that dissolve clots are called thrombolytics or fibrinolytics and are commonly known as "clot busters." These drugs have the ability to help reduce the damage to brain cells caused by the stroke. In order to be most effective these agents must be given quickly, ideally within 3 hours of a stroke's onset, so get to the emergency department as quickly as possible.
  • Minimally invasive removal of the clot or repair of aneurysms by specially trained neurosurgeons.
  • Medications and therapy to reduce or control brain swelling. Special types of intravenous (IV) fluids are often used to help reduce or control brain swelling, especially after a hemorrhagic stroke (a stroke caused by bleeding into the brain).
  • Medications that help protect the brain from damage and ischemia (lack of oxygen). Medications of this type are called neuroprotective agents, with some still under investigation in clinical trials.
  • Life support measures, including such treatments as ventilators (machines to assist with breathing), IV fluids, adequate nutrition, blood pressure control, and prevention of complications.

Although there is no cure for stroke once it has occurred, advanced medical and surgical treatments are now available, giving many stroke victims hope for optimal recovery and reducing the risk of another stroke.

Other medications that may help with recovery following a stroke, or may help to prevent a stroke from occurring, include the following:

  • Medications to help prevent more blood clots from forming. Medications that help to prevent additional blood clots from forming are called anticoagulants, as they prevent the coagulation (clotting) of the blood. Medications of this type include, for example, heparin and warfarin and enoxaparin.
  • Medications that reduce the chance of blood clots by preventing platelets (a type of blood cell) from sticking together. Examples of this type of medication include aspirin, clopidogrel or dipyridamole.
  • Medications to treat existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart, or blood pressure problems. These are numerous and your doctor(s) will develop a plan of care to include all your diseases.

Recovering from a stroke

Typically, stroke patients require rehabilitation to regain their strength in the affected area of the body and motor skills, as well as relearn daily tasks, like eating and getting dressed. Some stroke patients also may need to relearn how to speak or swallow.

Participating in rehabilitative therapy helps you recover as quickly as possible. Depending on a patient's needs,

Lee Health has treatment options for every level of rehabilitation at facilities including the Rehabilitation Hospital at Lee Memorial and our three Skilled Nursing Units: HealthPark Care & Rehabilitation Center, Skilled Nursing Unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center, and Skilled Nursing Unit at Lee Memorial Hospital as well as Lee Health's outpatient rehabilitation facilities throughout Lee County.

Because people are affected differently by stroke, a team of Lee Health clinicians work together to provide each patient with the individualized plan of care that meets his or her specific needs and gets him or her on the path to recovery.

Regardless of the facility you are in, we are ready to provide the highest level of compassionate, leading edge stroke care.

Stroke Rehabilitation Locations

Want to Learn More about Rehabilitation?

  • Rehabilitation

    Comprehensive care, both inside and outside the hospital, to help you recover after injury, surgery, or illness