Stroke

Seconds count. So does expertise.

When it comes to stroke, every second counts. Time lost is brain lost, so getting the right care at the right time is essential. At Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital, a team of highly experienced and trained stroke care experts are available 24 hours a day. Our doctors use the latest technology to quickly evaluate patients and diagnose stroke. And our specialized expertise and advanced treatment options give people the best shot at recovery from stroke.

We earned it. YOU benefit!

IU Health La Porte Hospital is proud to have been named a Primary Stroke Center for the benefit of our patients. This certification, awarded by The Joint Commission, is given only to medical facilities that make exceptional efforts to improve stroke care. In fact, IU Health La Porte Hospital is one of the only facilities in the area to receive this high distinction. Research shows people who receive comprehensive care at a Primary Stroke Center have better outcomes and more complete recoveries.

Jump ahead on this page

1. Types of Stroke 4. Stroke Treatments
2. Stroke Signs and Symptoms 5. Stroke Prevention
3. Diagnosing Stroke
   

Types of stroke

It is important to know which type of stroke a patient is experiencing in order to provide the most efficient and effective treatment. There are three types of stroke:

Ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, happens when a clot blocks one of the blood vessels carrying the oxygen to the brain.

Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. There are two kinds of hemorrhagic stroke:

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage or bleeding in the space between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain. This kind of stroke is usually caused by head trauma, a ruptured aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills into surrounding tissue. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for this kind of stroke.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini stroke, occurs when blood flow is cut off for a short period of time. A TIA requires medical care, as it is often a warning sign that a more serious stroke may be coming.

Stroke signs and symptoms

Because time is of the essence when it comes to stroke, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. Symptoms are similar for all three kinds of stroke and may include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, or trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headaches with no known cause

If you or someone you love experiences symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately—even if the symptoms go away after a few minutes. The faster a stroke is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the less permanent damage there will be.

Remember to act FAST in the event of a stroke. Learn more by clicking here.

Diagnosing stroke

Diagnosing any kind of stroke requires a rapid response and sophisticated imaging equipment. IU Health La Porte Hospital is ready even before a patient enters the Emergency Department. If a stroke is suspected, paramedics will alert the ED staff en route via ambulance so doctors and nurses can begin treatment as soon as the patient arrives.

To accurately diagnose a stroke, specialists use the most sophisticated diagnostic and imaging tools, including:

  • MRI
  • CT scans
  • Vascular CT, MR and catheter angiograms (non-invasive tests for examining the blood vessels)
  • Carotid ultrasound (for examination of the carotid arteries)
  • Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiogram (to determine if there is an abnormality with the heart that could lead to stroke)

Stroke treatments

Our multidisciplinary team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and emergency medicine doctors provide the latest treatment options to people experiencing ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke and TIA.

Ischemic stroke treatments

Treatment for ischemic stroke focuses on removing or dissolving the clot blocking blood flow to the brain. Treatments for ischemic stroke include:

Intravenous TPA
For ischemic stroke, physicians may start giving tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA. This medicine is administered via an IV and can dissolve the clot causing the stroke. Studies show people who receive tPA within the first three hours of a stroke have better and more complete recoveries. IU Health La Porte Hospital has an above-average tPA treatment rate, meaning eligible stroke patients are more likely to receive this important, time-critical treatment.

Carotid endarterectomy
The carotid arteries run up each side of the neck and are the main arteries bringing blood and oxygen to the brain. People are at high risk for stroke if those arteries become blocked or narrowed because of plaque buildup. Carotid endarterectomy is a delicate and complex procedure in which surgeons remove plaque that has built up inside the carotid arteries. Carotid endarterectomy can help prevent strokes by restoring and improving blood flow in the carotid arteries.

Carotid stenting
In this minimally invasive procedure, interventional specialists use stents to prop open a carotid artery that needs better blood flow. Carotid stenting can be a treatment option for people who are not good candidates for endarterectomy.

Transient ischemic attack treatments
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) should be taken just as seriously as a stroke. About one-third of people who have a TIA will later have a more severe stroke. Treatment for TIA depends on a person’s risk factors and the results of a thorough examination by our stroke experts. Our doctors may recommend medication or surgery to reduce the risk of future stroke.

Stroke and prevention: Know your risk factors

Stroke is the No. 1 cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, which is about one stroke every minute. And stroke can affect people of all ages and races. The good news is many strokes are preventable. Yet, many people do not know they are at risk for stroke. The first step in lowering your risk is to understand the factors that can contribute to stroke.

There are many factors that can increase your risk of having a stroke. Some of the factors, like age, cannot be changed because they are beyond your control. Other risk factors are ones you can change.

Uncontrollable risk factors

  • Race: Hispanics and African-Americans are at greatest risk
  • Age: Stroke happens more often in people over the age of 55
  • Gender: Males are at slightly greater risk than females
  • Genetics: Family history of stroke

Controllable risk factors

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Weight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress

Lower your risk

Many controllable risk factors of stroke require lifestyle modifications. Talk to your primary care physician for more information. Or, take charge of your health by calling one of our experts at 219.325.3658.