Advanced Primary Stroke Center

Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center has been certified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The Joint Commission's Certificate of Distinction for Advanced Primary Stroke Centers recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. To achieve certification for one year, stroke centers must demonstrate that they comply with standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement activities. To maintain certification, a stroke center must attest to continued compliance with standards and evidence of performance measurement and improvement activities each year, pass an on-site review conducted every two years by The Joint Commission and complete a bi-annual submission of an acceptable assessment of compliance by the organization.

Stroke Explained

A stroke is what occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or stopped. Within a few minutes of a stroke, brain cells begin to die. According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and can lead to long-term disability. Problems that can arise include weakness in an arm or leg after a small stroke to paralysis and loss of speech in larger strokes. This is why it's so important for someone who is having a stroke to get medical attention as quickly as possible. Stroke affects about one person every four minutes in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stroke Types and Symptoms

There are two kinds of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. In ischemic stroke, the most common type, a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. In hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain. Symptoms of stroke include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body
  • Difficulty with speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause.

Think FAST

If you or someone you're with has any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or get yourself or them to a hospital immediately. Staff in the emergency department will administer acute stroke medications to try to stop a stroke while it is happening. Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, is treated with the 'clot-busting' drug known as tPA. The drug must be given to patients within three- to four-and-a-half hours after the onset of stroke symptoms, and preferably sooner.

Use the acronym FAST to quickly identify possible strokes:

F = FACE
Smile. Does one side of the face droop? Can you see the same number of teeth on each side of the face?
A = ARMS
Hold up both arms for 10 seconds. Does one drift downward?
S = SPEECH
Repeat a simple sentence. Is the speech slurred or strange? Can you understand the person?
T = TIME
If these signs are present, every second counts. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Preventing Stroke

The best way to keep your brain healthy is to avoid a stroke in the first place. The best ways to prevent stroke are to do the following:

  • Keep your blood pressure controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medications
  • Don't smoke or stop smoking
  • Take steps to manage your cholesterol
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

For a non-emergency referral to a physician at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, who can help assess your risk for stroke, contact our free Direct Doctors Plus® referral service at 702-388-4888.