Stroke affects nearly 2,000 people daily in the U.S. Knowing the signs and symptoms — and seeking treatment fast — can improve your chances of a full recovery.

At Baptist Health, our stroke experts are leaders in providing the quickest and most advanced stroke care.

Our Approach to Stroke Services

Our Approach to Stroke Services

When you choose Baptist Health for stroke care, you have access to an entire team dedicated to fast stroke diagnosis, innovative treatments and comprehensive recovery.

Baptist Health Brain & Spine Care brings together two institutes — Marcus Neuroscience Institute and Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute — each with dedicated stroke teams. Together, they offer:

  • Teamwork with a sense of urgency, meaning you’ll get care quickly — within times that beat national averages and are optimal for the best possible outcomes
  • Care within facilities awarded the nation’s highest levels of stroke accreditation
  • An innovative spirit, with teams focused on advancing stroke care through research

Care at a Comprehensive Stroke Center

At Baptist Health, you can be sure you’re getting the best stroke care from highly skilled specialists at top-recognized facilities.

  • Baptist Health Baptist Hospital, in partnership with Miami Neuroscience Institute, was the first hospital in South Florida certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.
  • Boca Raton Regional Hospital, in partnership with Marcus Neuroscience Institute, is accredited as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare.

Hospitals that earn Comprehensive Stroke Center designation provide a full spectrum of quality stroke care, including diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Comprehensive stroke centers can treat any stroke or complication 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means EMS teams will automatically bring stroke patients to these hospitals for immediate emergency care.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” is a condition affecting the arteries leading to and within the brain. During a stroke, blood flow in these arteries is disrupted.

Blocked blood flow in and around the brain deprives the brain of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. This can lead to brain cell and tissue damage.

Damage from a stroke can take only minutes. Getting treatment quickly can prevent additional damage and preserve brain function.

Types of Stroke

There are three main types of stroke:

  • An ischemic stroke happens when blood vessels supplying the brain are blocked. The most common causes for this blockage are stenosis (narrowing of the arteries) or a blood clot. An ischemic stroke caused by a clot is called either thrombotic or embolic. Thrombotic strokes result from a blood clot within an artery supplying the brain. Embolic strokes occur when a clot or plaque fragment travels from another part of the body, such as the heart, and lodges in a brain artery. Both types cause sudden blockages, leading to brain tissue damage and various neurological deficits, depending on the affected area.

  • A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a weakened blood vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the brain. There are two main types of hemorrhagic stroke: intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). ICH occurs when a blood vessel ruptures within the brain tissue, leading to blood buildup and damage to surrounding brain cells. SAH involves bleeding into the space between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it. SAH is often caused by the rupture of an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Both types of hemorrhagic stroke can increase pressure on the brain, causing neurological impairments, severe headaches and potentially life-threatening complications.

  • A TIA, often called a “mini-stroke,” is caused by a brief interruption of blood flow to the brain. Unlike full-blown strokes, TIAs typically last only a few minutes to a couple of hours and do not cause permanent brain damage. These brief episodes occur when a blood clot or debris temporarily blocks an artery. While the symptoms of a TIA might mimic those of a stroke, they usually resolve without lasting effects. However, TIAs indicate an increased risk of subsequent, more severe strokes.

Signs of Stroke

Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke is important so you can get help quickly. Stroke symptoms vary and can include severe headaches and fainting or loss of consciousness.

F.A.S.T is an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke:

  • F: Face drooping. One side of the face is drooping or numb, or the smile is uneven.
  • A: Arm weakness. One arm is weak or numb. One arm may drift downward when both are lifted at the same time.
  • S: Speech difficulty. Slurred speech, difficulty speaking, inability to repeat a simple sentence correctly when asked.
  • T: Time to call 911. Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one experiences the above symptoms. If possible, write down when the symptoms first appeared so you can share this information with doctors.

*Symptoms may also include sudden loss of balance or coordination and vision changes in one or both eyes.

How We Diagnose a Stroke

Our stroke experts use a variety of diagnostic imaging and radiology tests to diagnose stroke. We also use many of these tests to plan treatments. We were the first in Florida to use — an artificial intelligence tool that reads and analyzes certain stroke imaging test results for faster diagnosis and treatment.

Our stroke diagnostic tests include:

  • This test identifies potential blockages or narrowing in the carotid arteries that could cause a stroke.

  • Doctors use this test to diagnose stroke.

  • This test helps doctors visualize blood vessels and blood flow. CTA is used for stroke diagnosis and treatment planning.

  • Doctors use CTP to determine the extent of brain damage caused by stroke.

  • Doctors use CT scans to find abnormalities in the brain, such as bleeding, blockages or brain tissue damage caused by stroke.

  • A DSA assists in stroke diagnosis. Doctors also use DSA to assess blood flow changes in the brain.

  • Doctors use this test to assess blockages and evaluate the severity of stroke-related vascular issues.

  • An EEG supports stroke diagnosis and is also used to assess brain activity following a stroke event.

  • Doctors use fMRI to understand the impact of stroke on brain function.

  • Doctors use MRA to detect abnormalities, such as blockages or aneurysms, and assess blood flow to identify potential stroke risks.

  • Doctors use MRI to identify stroke-related abnormalities such as bleeding, ischemic areas or tissue damage.

  • Doctors use this test to measure changes in blood volume in the eye, which can indicate potential cardiovascular issues linked to stroke risk.

  • This test identifies abnormalities or restrictions that could contribute to a stroke.

Stroke Treatment

At Baptist Health Brain & Spine Care, our goal is to treat every stroke quickly. Our neurologists — part of our cerebrovascular neurology team — work with our expert neuroradiologists to diagnose quickly and develop a treatment plan.

Often, stroke treatment includes clot-busting medications (called thrombolytics), such as a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). These medications must be given to a stroke patient as soon as possible within the first hours following a stroke to help prevent long-term damage. Our team works as quickly as possible and has treated patients in as little as 20 minutes.

We also work alongside Baptist Health Heart & Vascular Care physicians to offer the latest endovascular treatments for stroke. These include:

  • Angioplasty and stenting. During angioplasty, surgeons use a balloon-like device to widen narrowed or blocked blood vessels. In some cases, surgeons place a stent (a small mesh tube) in the artery to help keep it open and maintain proper blood flow.
  • Intra-arterial thrombolysis. During intra-arterial thrombolysis, surgeons deliver clot-dissolving medications directly to a blood clot via a catheter inserted into the affected artery. These medications help dissolve the clot and restore blood flow.
  • Thrombectomy. During a thrombectomy, surgeons guide a thin tube through your blood vessel to reach a blood clot that’s causing a blocked artery in the brain. They then use a device to remove or break up the clot, restoring blood flow to the brain.

Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation

For some, a stroke causes minimal damage and recovery time is quick. Others may face a difficult or longer recovery. Baptist Health Brain & Spine Care offers a comprehensive neurorehabilitation program to help you lead a healthy, more independent life post-stroke.

Our neurorehabilitation team offers inpatient and outpatient care and includes rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and social workers.

Meet the Stroke Team

Our team includes board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons and interventional neuroradiologists trained to manage the most complex stroke cases.
Stroke Research

Stroke Research

We are actively involved in clinical trials designed to find ways to improve stroke treatment and outcomes.

Miami Neuroscience Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) StrokeNet, a nationwide effort focused on stroke research to get new treatments into the community faster.

Marcus Neuroscience Institute is a pioneer in the study of trans-radial access or radial access for neurological treatments, which uses catheter-based treatments that start at veins in the wrist instead of the leg.

Talk to your doctor or view our list of active trials to learn more about stroke research.

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