Conditions and Treatments

A stroke is a critical event that requires immediate medical attention by professional with the right experience.

Premier Health’s Clinical Neuroscience Institute (CNSI) has a multidisciplinary team of specially trained emergency staff, which includes:

  • Stroke neurologists
  • Neurocritical care specialists
  • NeuroInterventional surgeons
  • Neurology nurse specialists
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapists

Our integrated stroke program is dedicated to rapid response and treatment of transient ischemic stroke, ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

We are leaders in Southwestern Ohio in providing treatment of hemorrhagic stroke with Solitaire, recently approved by the FDA, to restore blood flow to the brain within minutes of a stroke.

We also use the Telestroke Network to bring immediate neurologic care to your bedside. The Telestroke Network uses a two-way video terminal to enable a neurologist to assess your condition and allows for two way visual and auditory communication to and consult with your on-site doctor in real time.

What Is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of your brain is disrupted by a blocked artery or leaking blood vessel. When blood flow is halted, brain cells begin to die because they aren’t getting enough oxygen. With immediate medical treatment, brain cells can be saved and complications, including brain damage and disability, can be minimized.

Symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm and/or leg weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Confusion
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Problems breathing
  • Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination and unexplained falls
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden and severe headache

If you or a loved one has symptoms of stroke, call 911 and go immediately to the closest emergency room. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of recovery.

Diagnosing a Stroke

Your CNSI doctor will ask you or a family member when your stroke symptoms began and about your risk factors. High blood pressure, heart disease, smoking and a family history of stroke increase your risk for stroke.

Tests commonly ordered to diagnose a stroke include:

  • Brain computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans

These tests and others will help your neurologist determine whether you have had a stroke.

Ischemic Stroke

An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery to your brain becomes blocked and stops the flow of blood to your brain. In most strokes from a blocked artery, a medication called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) can be infused intravenously (through a tube in a vein) to prevent damaging effects of the stroke if it is given within the first few hours(4 ½) after stroke symptoms begin. That’s why it is essential to get immediate emergency medical help.

IV tPA thins your blood. If you already take blood-thinning medication for a health condition, you may not be able to have IV tPA because the combination of some blood-thinners can cause significant complications.

If you cannot have IV tPA, your CNSI doctors can use other medications or procedures to prevent or minimize the damage from your stroke. This includes antiplatelet drugs that help prevent blood clots. These must be given within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms of a stroke.

Solitaire Revascularization Device

CNSI was the first medical group in Southwestern Ohio to provide treatment with the Solitaire revascularization device. This treatment for strokes was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Solitaire procedure can be given as long as eight hours after a stroke began. Solitaire improves your long-term ability to function normally after a stroke—including speech and mobility.

Solitaire is a minimally invasive technology (done through a small incision) similar to a stent procedure for heart blockage. Your surgeon threads a thin catheter through an artery in your groin to the area of blockage in your brain artery. Then the surgeon puts a miniature stent (a wire mesh tube that expands inside your artery) through the catheter. The stent opens in your blocked artery, and blood flow is restored. The blood clot causing the blockage sticks to the stent after several minutes, and the stent and clot are removed through the catheter.

Hemorrhagic Stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in your brain leaks blood or ruptures. It is important our doctors find the cause of the bleeding and stop it.

Your CNSI doctor may prescribe medication if high blood pressure caused your hemorrhagic stroke. Medication will help prevent future bleeding in the artery.

Conditions that can lead to bleeding in your brain—and a stroke—include high blood pressure, trauma, brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and certain tumors.

Brain aneurysm: A brain aneurysm is a bulge in an artery in your brain. Some aneurysms do not cause health problems or symptoms. Aneurysms that leak or rupture can cause a stroke. This is a very serious condition and requires specialized treatments such as coil embolization or aneurysm clipping.

Read more about Brain Aneurysm at CNSI.

Arteriovenous malformation (AVM): An AVM is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins that can cause a stroke if it ruptures (breaks open).

The preferred treatments for AVM include surgical resection (removal) and embolization. These treatments may be used together or separately. Embolization involves inserting a catheter into the AVM and injecting a liquid medication. The medication solidifies (hardens) and reduces the risk of rupture and further bleeding of the AVM.

Intracranial aneurysms: Aneurysms can be found on any artery inside of the brain. Their size, location, and growth patterns tell us how risky they are to bleed. We can treat most aneurysms successfully if caught before they bleed. Unfortunately, some aneurysms can develop on the intracranial (inside your head) portion of this artery and rupture, causing a hemorrhagic stroke.

CNSI offers the most advanced technology to treat this type of aneurysm. Our neurosurgical team can use traditional methods, or even insert a pipeline embolization device (PED), a mesh tube that diverts blood flow away from the aneurysm. The PED decreases the pressure on areas of your brain.

Transient Ischemic Attack

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is caused by a disruption of blood flow to the brain (for example, by a blood clot) that disappears before brain damage occurs. The symptoms of a TIA are similar to those of a stroke, but they last for less than 60 min. A TIA is treated the same as an ischemic stroke. You can have a TIA and an ischemic stroke in the same day, in fact a TIA is a warning sign for a potential future stroke.

If you have a TIA, you are at increased risk for having a bigger stroke. Our neurologists will talk to you about changes you can make to help prevent a stroke. This may include treating diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and discontinuing tobacco use.

For more information about stroke at CNSI, and for a referral to a Premier Health neurologist or neurosurgeon, call toll free 1 (844) 277-28941 (844) 277-2894.