Stroke

A stroke is a disruption of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to a portion of the brain, causing the sudden death of brain cells. This can result in symptoms in the parts of the body these cells control, including weakness or paralysis (inability to move) in the face, arms or legs, trouble seeing or speaking, sudden severe headache, or loss of balance. If not treated quickly, a stroke can cause permanent brain damage or death.

The most common types of strokes include:

  • Ischemic – This is the most common type of stroke. It occurs when a blood clot forms or travels to a blood vessel in the brain, then blocks the flow of blood to brain cells. Blockage can also be the result of too much plaque (a build-up of cholesterol and fats) in the blood vessel.
  • Hemorrhagic – This type occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures) due to a weakness in the vessel’s wall (aneurysm) and damages surrounding brain tissue and cells.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – This type is also called a mini-stroke because blood flow to a part of the brain is blocked only for a short time and damage to the brain cells isn’t permanent.

The diagnosis of a stroke includes performing a physical exam to check for the symptoms of a stroke list above, and discuss risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, or a family history of strokes or heart disease. The doctor may also recommend a range of diagnostic tests, including a CT scan, MRI, and other types of tests to evaluate blood vessels in the brain.

Using the latest on-site technology, the highly-experienced Temple neurologists at Jeanes Hospital can quickly diagnose a stroke and begin immediately treatment to maintain brain function and reduce the risk of future attacks.

Stroke Treatments at Jeanes Hospital

A stroke is an emergency situation that requires immediate attention to minimize damage to the brain. The Temple neurology team at Jeanes Hospital first identify which type of stroke it is, determine where it’s located in the brain, and then assess how much damage has been done before administering treatment.

Ischemic/TIA Strokes

Treatment options for ischemic and TIA strokes include:

  • Tissue plasma activator (tPA) – A medication that dissolves the clot and improves blood flow to the area of the brain where the artery is blocked. Considered the gold standard in stroke treatment, tPA is injected through an IV into the arm. If it is administered within 3 hours, tPA can help improve the chances of recovery.
  • Antiplatelet/anticoagulant medications – Antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, keep blood platelets from clumping and forming clots; anticoagulants are blood thinners that keep blood clots from growing larger or new ones from forming.
  • Thrombolysis – A Temple neurosurgeon makes a small incision in the arm or leg and guides a catheter into an artery, then to the site of the blocked blood vessel in the brain. The catheter is then used to remove the clot or administer tPA to dissolve it.
  • Carotid endarterectomy/angioplasty – for patients who have carotid artery disease (clogging of the two arteries on either side of the neck), these procedures remove the blockage from the arteries to allow flow of blood to the brain.

Hemorrhagic Strokes

The main surgeries performed by Temple neurosurgeons for the treatment of hemorrhagic strokes include:

  • Surgical clipping – An incision is made on the top of the head and a small opening in the skull to access the aneurysm; a small metal clip is then placed at the base of the aneurysm to prevent blood from entering from the artery.
  • Endovascular coiling (also known as Embolization) – A minimally-invasive procedure which involves making a small incision in the groin and guiding a small tube to the aneurysm. A thin wire is then fed through the tube into the aneurysm, where it coils up and disrupts blood flow, causing the blood to clot and sealing it off from the artery.
  • Surgical resection (removal) – A commonly-used procedure if the AVM is easy to access or if there has been bleeding. A small portion of the skull is temporarily removed and, using a high-powered microscope, the Temple neurosurgeon seals off and removes the AVM to eliminate further bleeding.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple neurologist or neurosurgeon at the Jeanes Hospital Neurosciences Center, click here or call 215-728-CARE (2273).

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