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Stroke Center


NYM's Stroke Center offers rapid evaluation of stroke patients and advanced treatments that can reverse damage caused by stroke. Our specialists are involved in the study and employment of the most advanced approaches and equipment in stroke care today.

NYM's designation as a "Stroke Center" by the New York State Department of Health indicates that we have a full team of specialists on call twenty-four hours a day to respond to stroke emergencies. We are also the only hospital in Brooklyn recognized by the American Stroke Association  as a "Get With The Guidelines-Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award" winner, as well as a member of "the Target: Stroke Honor Roll."

Rapid emergency response to stroke is crucial and traveling long distances for care in a stroke emergency is not an option. This is why providing advanced stroke evaluation, treatment, and care right here in Brooklyn is a major priority for New York Methodist Hospital and for the communities it serves.

About Stroke

Stroke is now the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability, with almost 800,000 Americans experiencing a stroke every year.

A stroke ("brain attack") comes in two forms: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

Eighty-three percent of all stroke emergencies are ischemic. An ischemic stroke can be caused by complications from smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension), which all can lead to the narrowing of arteries in the brain.

Hemorrhagic stroke is less common but potentially more dangerous. Hemorrhagic stroke can be caused by high blood pressure and/or aneurysms (weak spots in blood vessel walls) resulting in a blood vessel leak or rupture in the brain.
Strokes should be assessed and treated quickly in a certified stroke center by experts.

Know the Signs of Stroke

Time is of the essence in treating any kind of stroke. Studies show that patients receive faster treatment for stroke if they arrive by ambulance rather than coming to the emergency room on their own.

Anyone experiencing or observing any warning signs of stroke should immediately call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. Warning signs include the following:

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

An easy way to remember the signs of stroke, and how to respond in a potential emergency, is with the acronym "F.A.S.T." The National Stroke Association's F.A.S.T. test advises the following guidelines for assessing a potential stroke emergency:

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Check to see if one side of the face droops.
  • Arms:  Ask the person to raise both arms. See if one arm drifts downward.
  • Speech:  Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Check to see if words are slurred and if the sentence is repeated correctly.
  • Time:  If a person shows any of these symptoms, it is crucial to call 9-1-1 and deliver the person to emergency care as quickly as possible.

Evaluation and Treatment at the NYM Stroke Center

Appropriate evaluation and immediate treatment are both crucial priorities in a stroke emergency. NYM's Stroke Center is equipped with advanced tools to thoroughly and correctly assess stroke as quickly as possible, so as not to delay treatment any more than necessary. Assessment tools include the following:

  • Computed tomography (CT)

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

  • Duplex ultrasound

  • Carotid ultrasound

  • Transcranial doppler (provides real-time information that cannot be obtained through static images like CT and MRI)
After quickly assessing the situation, whenever appropriate, tPA medication is administered to dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow to the affected part of the brain.

Unfortunately tPA medication is not an option when the patient arrives in the emergency room more than three hours after the onset of a stroke, nor is it an option for hemorrhagic stroke.

As part of our commitment to providing the best care for a wide array of stroke situations, NYM offers advanced "stroke reversal" alternatives to tPA, utilizing the Penumbra System, first approved by the FDA in 2009, and the Merci System, introduced in 2006. With both procedures, the surgeon removes blood clots through the femoral artery using a catheter attached to a pump. Stroke reversal may mitigate or entirely avoid the potentially damaging effects of a stroke.

NYM is one of the few hospitals equipped  to offer stroke reversal by removing blood clots when they can't be easily dissolved. By utilizing the most advanced treatments available, and by making them available 24 hours a day,  we are able to provide more comprehensive and individualized care for people experiencing stroke in Brooklyn.

What to Expect After Stroke Treatment at NYM

Patients who experience a stroke reversal can expect a faster recovery and a shorter stay in the Hospital. When the effects of stroke can't be reversed, rehabilitation may be necessary and beneficial.

Rehabilitation occurs under the direction of a full-time physiatrist (a person specializing in rehabilitation medicine). The process generally begins as soon as a patient's vital signs are stable, which usually happens within 48 hours after being treated for a stroke. Rehabilitation therapy continues for about two weeks in the Hospital's rehabilitation unit and may include physical, occupational and speech/language therapy. Following the Hospital stay, patients generally receive additional therapy at home or at a long-term care facility.

Prevention is always important as survivors of stroke are unfortunately at risk of experiencing another stroke. NYM's team of specialists assist stroke survivors in assessing risk factors and in making lifestyle changes, utilizing preventive medications if necessary,  to help lower the risk of stroke recurrence. Risk factors include smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol consumption.

For people who have experienced a stroke, as well as for people who haven't, meeting with health professionals regularly to monitor overall health, maintain healthy habits, and make lifestyle changes when necessary can greatly improve a person's chances of avoiding stroke in the future. Some of the best doctors can be found through NYM's physician referral service.

For more information, please call 718.246.8614.

Download our fact sheet on stroke warning signs or read more about stroke here.

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