As a Joint Commission-Certified Primary Stroke Center, Lancaster General Hospital is recognized nationally for its stroke care. 

Learn More About Stroke

Understand the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of seeking care in this blog article by Ram Chavali, MDMedical Director, Endovascular Stroke Intervention.

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Stroke Care at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health

Types of Stroke and Related Conditions

There are two main types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when weakened blood vessels in the brain burst, causing blood to leak into the brain.
  • Ischemic stroke occurs when blood vessels supplying blood to the brain are blocked by a blood clot.

Our team also treats other conditions affecting the blood vessels in the brain: 

  • Arterial dissection: A tear occurs in the lining of the wall of an artery. This may lead to clot forming in the artery, which can cause stroke.
  • Carotid stenosis: A condition caused by progressive narrowing of one or both carotid arteries; this may cause no symptoms, or may lead to stroke.
  • Intracranial stenosis: A narrowing of one or more of the large arteries inside the brain.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): A TIA is different from a stroke because it is caused by a blood clot that is temporary or "transient."
  • Vasculitis: A condition characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels.
  • Venous sinus thrombosis: A clot forms in one of the large veins that drains blood out of the brain.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke: Remember BE FAST

Stroke, or brain attack, is a leading cause of death and disability among adults in the U.S. The effects of stroke may hardly be noticeable, or last a lifetime. Stroke symptoms may be well defined, like weakness on one side of the face and body; or subtle, like changes in speech. Recovery may be complete, partial or minimal.

Spotting the signs of a stroke using the BE FAST guidelines are crucial to limiting brain damage and improving recovery:

Balance: Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?
Eyes: Does the person have sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes?
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

list of stroke symptoms

Time is Brain: Quick Action Like Calling 911 Can Save Brain Function 

Receiving care as quickly as possible is critical because time is brain. The more quickly a stroke is recognized and treated, the better the chances of preserving brain function. If you see the signs of suspected stroke, call 911 for an ambulance. This is true even if the symptoms seem to go away. Calling 911 is the fastest way to receive quick medical treatment.

Advanced Stroke Procedure: Only Hospital in Lancaster to Perform Mechanical Thrombectomy

A stroke caused by a large blood clot has the greatest chance to cause disability or even death. Lancaster General Hospital is the first and only hospital in Lancaster County to perform mechanical thrombectomy, an advanced procedure for physically retrieving a blood clot from a brain vessel. Specially trained doctors use a catheter inserted through an artery in the groin to send a wire-caged device called a stent retriever to the site of the blocked vessel in the brain. At Lancaster General Hospital, we have procedure rooms dedicated exclusively for stroke care

Removing a clot from the brain right away provides the best chance for a complete recovery. Having this procedure here in Lancaster eliminates the need to transport a patient to another facility out of the county for stroke treatment.

Click here and here to see TV news stories about the procedure at Lancaster General Hospital.

American Heart Association 2020 Gold Plus

Lancaster General Hospital is recognized for its exceptional stroke care, consistently earning the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Quality Achievement Award. The award, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, "recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence."

Stroke Treatment: A Team Effort

Stroke care at Lancaster General Health is a team effort. Often, that effort begins before patients even arrive at the hospital. Emergency responders are trained to start life-saving procedures in the ambulance, and call ahead so hospital personnel are ready to begin appropriate treatment. Rapid treatment, including administering a clot-busting medication and mechanical thrombectomy, can reduce or reverse the damage caused by stroke. 

Stroke treatment and rehabilitation are often complex. Our highly trained team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, cardiologists, interventional neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, nurses, nurse care managers, and neuro rehab specialists work together to tailor care to each patient’s needs. 

Prevention: The Best Defense Against Stroke

You can reduce your chances of having a stroke by making healthy lifestyle choices. We encourage you to talk to your primary care doctor about the things you can do to reduce your stroke risk. Your doctor can share strategies to help you control risk factors, the most significant being smoking and hypertension (high blood pressure).

To learn more about stroke risk factors, the American Stroke Association provides comprehensive information and a quiz you can take help you understand your level of risk for stroke: 

Stroke risk quiz:

Rehabilitation and Support

Stroke rehabilitation is available on an inpatient, outpatient, or at-home basis, and depending on your needs, may include:

  • Physical therapy to increase strength, coordination and motor skills
  • Speech therapy to regain speech and swallowing abilities and learn food preparation techniques
  • Occupational therapy to help re-learning daily skills like walking, dressing and driving

Our Stroke Survivors Support Group for patients and their caregivers is currently being held online from 6 pm - 7pm on the first Thursday of each month. Please call 717-406-3007 for more details on this virtual support group.

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