DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center

Medical City Dallas Hospital has been designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center, also known as a Level 1 Stroke Center, by the Texas Department of State Health Services. This honor also comes from DNV, an international leader in quality certifications.

The Comprehensive Stroke Center certification shows Medical City encompasses the full spectrum of stroke care, including diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and education.
Care can be provided in a dedicated neurovascular intensive care unit (ICU) by:

  • Stroke neurologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Interventional neuro-radiologists
  • Specially-trained stroke nurses

In Texas, EMS teams are required by the state to bring patients to the nearest certified stroke center to help ensure the best possible care.

Fast administration of life-saving drug. As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, the multidisciplinary stroke team at Medical City is equipped to acutely treat stroke patients with the FDA approved clot dissolving medication, tPA (tissue plasminogen activator).  This treatment can dramatically increase the chance of recovery after stroke, but must be administered within 3 hours of symptom onset.  Medical City’s Emergency Services has implemented and Acute Stroke Protocol to ensure the rapid evaluation and treatment of patients who are potential candidates for this treatment.

Beyond the Emergency Services. The Neurovascular Intensive Care Unit and 5 South Neuroscience Unit provide specialized care for stroke patients that is delivered by a truly multidisciplinary team comprised of stroke nurses, therapists, dieticians and social workers. The stroke care provided to patients is based upon scientific evidence and nationally accepted guidelines. Particular emphasis is focused on education of patients and families about stroke treatment and prevention.

Team approach to coordinated care. Exemplary stroke care requires a team approach to provide a comprehensive spectrum of services. Our specialists provide a breadth and depth of stroke expertise including emergency physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, critical care physicians, internal medicine hospitalists, vascular surgeons, cardiologists and physiatrists. A dedicated stroke coordinator facilitates the entire spectrum of care provided to patients, and particular emphasis is focused on education of patients and families about stroke recognition, treatment and prevention. A full array of surgical treatment of stroke is offered by the Medical City specialists including decompressive craniectomy, carotid endartectomy, carotid stenting, aneurysm clipping and ventriculostomy placement.

Kinds of Strokes

There are different types of stroke including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain becomes blocked by a blood clot or other particle such as a piece of plaque. This leads to insufficient blood flow to the brain, lack of oxygen and ultimately permanent death of brain cells. There are various causes of stroke including atherosclerosis (narrowed vessels due to hardening of the artery), heart disease and blood clotting disorders. The risk factors for this type of stroke include hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, atrial fibrillation, and obesity.  It is important to perform tests to determine the cause of stroke and risk factors in each patient.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and blood spills into the brain and its surrounding structures. Hypertension is the most common reason for this type of stroke. Aneurysms and other vascular malformations may also cause hemorrhagic stroke. Patients with hemorrhagic stroke are often evaluated by neurosurgeons, though most patients do not require surgery.

The symptoms of stroke depend upon what part of the brain is affected. It is critical to recognize the signs of stroke and act fast since time is brain.

Signs of a Stroke

Medical City’s Emergency Services has successfully implemented a Code Stroke Protocol to ensure the rapid evaluation and treatment of patients who are potential candidates for this treatment that leads to a greater chance of complete recovery. We are proud to treat up to 15 percent of stroke patients with tPA—the national average is 3-8 percent. Aggressive quality efforts are performed to safely shorten door to treatment times that affords the best patient outcomes. Think F.A.S.T if you see any of these stroke signs in a loved one and dial 9-1-1:

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 sentence.  Are the words slurred?  Is the person confused?  Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?
TIME It’s time to call 911 if the patient suddenly shows any of these symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by loss of vision, loss of balance with dizziness, or the worst headache imaginable.

Texas Stroke Institute

As an HCA hospital in the North Texas Division, Medical City is affiliated with the Texas Stroke Institute. The Texas Stroke Institute is a collaborative initiative that includes 11 hospitals. Our goal is to develop an effective and resource-efficient plan to reduce the morbidity, mortality and economic burden of stroke in the region. Incorporating medical education and participating in research will establish us as a national center of excellence in stroke.

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