During a stroke, every second counts. Recovery and quality of life after a stroke depends on timely care.
What happens during a stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off or reduced, which deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked artery. Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel. There are also transient ischemic attacks (TIA) – also referred to as a mini stroke – which cause temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain. These attacks are often a warning of a future stroke, with about 1 in 3 people eventually having one.
When stroke occurs, brain cells begin to die within minutes, which is why it’s so important to be able to recognize stroke symptoms and seek immediate care. Early action can reduce brain damage and save lives. The sooner treatment is administered, the more likely it is that patients will make a functional recovery and avoid complications, disability or death.
Advanced treatments save lives
At Main Line Health, the Neurointerventional Lab at Bryn Mawr Hospital provides advanced stroke care that helps patients achieve better outcomes. Our lab is staffed 24/7 by neurointerventionalists who perform complex, minimally invasive, lifesaving procedures. These treatments and interventions include:
- Advanced neurodiagnostic imaging procedures to determine the precise location of clots or bleeds in the brain.
- Intravenous tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) clot-busting medication for acute ischemic stroke. The medication works by dissolving the stroke-causing blood clot to help restore blood flow.
- Thrombectomy, which is a minimally invasive procedure, to remove the clot. During the procedure, surgeons thread catheters from the groin or the wrist up to the brain artery and use a retrieval device to remove the clot and reopen the blood vessel.
- Angioplasty and stenting to open a blocked artery in the brain or neck. During the procedure, a surgeon threads a catheter to your neck or brain arteries. A balloon is then inflated and a stent is placed to support the newly opened artery.
- Endovasular coiling, stenting or flow diversion which are minimally invasive treatments to shut down a bleeding brain aneurysm or blood vessel malformation (AVM). These procedures save lives and restore a patient’s neurologic function.
Post-stroke rehabilitation helps patients return to normal life
After receiving acute stroke care, some patients require post-stroke rehabilitation. The Stroke Recovery Program at Main Line Health offers both inpatient and outpatient programs to help people regain their strength and learn how to compensate for any physical limitations after stroke. We also offer survivor and caretaker support groups to extend the continuum of care and help people succeed in getting back to their daily activities.
Main Line Health treats more than 3,000 stroke patients each year at our four acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital. Our Stroke Centers have met stringent quality standards for stroke treatment set by the Joint Commission as well as those of the American Heart/Stroke Association, making our hospitals among the top stroke hospitals in the Philadelphia region. Bryn Mawr Hospital is a Joint Commission-certified Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center, a designation bestowed on only one of three hospitals in the state of Pennsylvania. All four Main Line Health acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—have received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes each 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. In addition, Lankenau Medical Center received the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite and Bryn Mawr Hospital received the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite and the Target Advanced Therapy for Stroke Intervention Honor Roll. Hospitals receiving these awards must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.