Prompt, Expert Treatment for Stroke Patients

Man with grandson

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Stroke Association. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke.

According to experts, a stroke should be treated with the same urgency as a heart attack. Every second is critical to patient care, survival and subsequent quality of life.

Remember: If you or a loved one experience any signs of a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately!

What is Stroke?

A stroke—sometimes called a brain attack—occurs when there is an interruption in the flow of blood to cells in the brain. Deprived of oxygen from the blood, the cells die. A stroke occurs when there is a blockage in an artery prevents blood from reaching cells in the brain, or an artery ruptures inside the brain, causing bleeding.

There are two kinds of strokes:

  • Ischemic strokes are the most common. They occur when an artery is blocked and blood flow to the brain is stopped. Caused by build-ups of fatty deposits on the inside of an artery wall which then becomes completely clogged. Ischemic strokes account for eighty percent of all strokes suffered. Some ischemic strokes are preceded by stroke-like symptoms called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). These may occur months before the stroke. The loss of vision in a TIA may be described as a feeling that a shade is being pulled down over your eyes. The symptoms are usually temporary and improve within 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery inside the brain ruptures or when an aneurysm at the base of the brain bursts. Twenty percent of all strokes suffered are hemorrhagic strokes. Symptoms more specific to this type of stroke include headache, nausea and vomiting, neck stiffness, seizures, sudden changes in mental state and lethargy. Hemorrhagic strokes usually occur in the daytime and during physical activity. The symptoms typically begin very suddenly and evolve over several hours.

Team-Based Stroke Services

A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals at Aiken Regional Medical Centers work to evaluate and treat all stroke emergencies, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To help deliver prompt, quality care, the multidisciplinary team consists of:

  • Emergency physicians
  • Emergency nurses
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Neurologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Radiologic technologists
  • Registered cardiovascular invasive technologists

A Full Continuum of Care

Stroke patients have access to a comprehensive range of specially-designed services and treatments which focus on:

  • Prevention and intervention
  • Education
  • Active management of strokes
  • Rehabilitation

Know the Warning Signs of a Possible Stroke

As every second is critical to patient care, it is important to know the warning signs of a possible stroke, listed below.

  • 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

BE FAST

If you suspect you or your loved one is having a stroke, remember to BE FAST:


Balance is affected. A person may fall or feel unsteady.


Eyes are blurry or have difficulty seeing when you ask a person about their vision.


Face droops when you ask a person to smile.


Arm weakness when you ask a person to raise their arms above their head.


Speech is slurred when you ask a person to repeat a sentence.


Time is important. If you notice any symptoms of a possible stroke, call 9-1-1.

Help Reduce Your Risk of Stroke

  • Control your blood pressure
  • Find out if you have heart disease, especially an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, get treatment
  • Find out if you have diabetes and get treatment
  • Don't smoke
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Limit your alcohol use
  • Control your weight

Find a Doctor for Stroke Care

If you need a referral to a physician at Aiken Regional Medical Centers, call our free Direct Doctors Plus® referral service at 800-322-8322.