Stroke Management

Stroke management

After you’ve suffered a stroke, your medical team at Northwell Health’s Stroke Center may recommend a combination of medical therapy, surgical care and preventive treatment, depending on your specific needs.

Stroke management medical therapies include tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an FDA-approved, clot-busting drug. Surgical treatments include carotid endarterectomy, Solitaire ™ Flow Restoration (FR) and endovascular stroke treatment. To minimize the chance of a future stroke, you may also be prescribed an antiplatelet agent. 

Stroke rehabilitation is also an important part of your recovery following a stroke. The effects of stroke may mean changing, relearning or redefining how you live. Following stroke, you may have difficulties functioning physically (e.g., unsteady gait, weakness or paralysis), cognitively (e.g., memory, language or perceptual problems) or emotionally (e.g., anxiety and depression).

Successful rehabilitation depends on:

  • How early rehabilitation begins
  • Extent of the brain affected
  • Expertise and dedication of the rehabilitation team
  • Cooperation of family and friends

Stroke rehabilitation offered at Northwell Health Rehabilitation Network is focused on helping you return to independent living. Each person is unique, and rehabilitation will be tailored to your specific needs. The comprehensive stroke rehabilitation team can include a rehabilitation doctor (physiatrist), rehab nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language therapist, social worker, neuropsychologist and recreation therapist.

After you’ve suffered a stroke, your medical team at Northwell Health’s Stroke Center may recommend a combination of medical therapy, surgical care and preventive treatment, depending on your specific needs.

Stroke management medical therapies include tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an FDA-approved, clot-busting drug. Surgical treatments include carotid endarterectomy, Solitaire ™ Flow Restoration (FR) and endovascular stroke treatment. To minimize the chance of a future stroke, you may also be prescribed an antiplatelet agent. 

Stroke rehabilitation is also an important part of your recovery following a stroke. The effects of stroke may mean changing, relearning or redefining how you live. Following stroke, you may have difficulties functioning physically (e.g., unsteady gait, weakness or paralysis), cognitively (e.g., memory, language or perceptual problems) or emotionally (e.g., anxiety and depression).

Successful rehabilitation depends on:

  • How early rehabilitation begins
  • Extent of the brain affected
  • Expertise and dedication of the rehabilitation team
  • Cooperation of family and friends

Stroke rehabilitation offered at Northwell Health Rehabilitation Network is focused on helping you return to independent living. Each person is unique, and rehabilitation will be tailored to your specific needs. The comprehensive stroke rehabilitation team can include a rehabilitation doctor (physiatrist), rehab nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language therapist, social worker, neuropsychologist and recreation therapist.

The Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute approach

Northwell Health is committed to delivering the highest quality care available to stroke patients. The Stroke Center at the Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute offers comprehensive, specialized and cutting-edge treatments for every type of stroke. In addition to our world-renowned medical and surgical stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuro-interventionalists, the center brings together supporting physicians in other specialties and healthcare professionals including:

  • Critical care specialists
  • Emergency medicine doctors
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech therapists

We train all stroke team members and educate emergency medical technicians to quickly recognize when someone is having a stroke so they can receive the medical attention they need as quickly as possible.

Patients who come in through our emergency rooms are quickly examined and given priority in all testing and diagnosis. Within minutes of a stroke code, our team performs a full patient assessment, rushes the patient to CT/MRI imaging and develops a treatment plan.

After the initial treatment, patients are monitored around the clock for neurological changes. The Stroke Center offers 24/7 coverage, the latest stroke treatment options and access to the latest clinical trials and research.

Stroke management risks

High Blood Pressure-Most common risk factor for stroke. High blood pressure exerts stress in the wall of blood vessels as consequence they deteriorate and thicken. Increase stress in blood vessel walls can lead to a stroke. Speak to your primary physician about controlling or lowering your blood pressure. There are many changes you can make to manage your blood pressure. Modifications in diet, incorporating regular physical activity, limit alcohol and quit smoking are simple changes can help enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of stroke.

Atrial fibrillation-Is an irregular heart beat that causes your blood to clot in the heart chambers and consequently that clot can be pump out of the heart and reach the brain. Brain blood vessels are not much larger than the width of a quarter. A clot traveling into these vessels gets stuck and limits the blood, which contains oxygen, to reach the brain tissue. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by 500% and about 75% of atrial fibrillation related strokes can be prevented. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms described as pounding or racing of the heart with lightheadedness or fainting sensation.

Diabetes-People with uncontrolled blood glucose levels or diabetes have twice the risk of suffering a stroke. Being screened for diabetes is easy, talk to your primary care physician for more information.

High Cholesterol- Cholesterol is a fat produce by our own body. High levels can cause this waxy molecule to clog into the walls of the blood vessels. A blockage in the blood vessels caused by a cholesterol plaque limits the amount of blood that reaches brain tissue causing a stroke. Talk to your physician about screening for high cholesterol. Simple changes in your diet can help you manage high cholesterol.

Smoking-Quit smoking, it increases the risk of suffering a stroke. Smoking contributes to damage in the walls of the arteries making them prone to clog and become blocked. Smoking limits the oxygen available in the blood. As consequence the heart has to work hard making easier for clots to form. Ask your doctor about local support groups and establish a plan to quit smoking.

Other risk factors include overweight and sedentary life style.  Add fruits and vegetables to your regular diet and incorporate a plan to increase physical activities this simple measures will reduce significantly the risk of stroke.

Stroke management post-treatment

Effective stroke rehabilitation is an essential part of the continuum of stroke care. Despite the extensive resources devoted to stroke rehabilitation and aftercare, many gaps continue to be seen in the evidence base for stroke rehabilitation.  Our goal is to provide the patient with tools that organize post-stroke care individualizing every aspect  to improve physical and emotional well being.  During hospitalization patients undergo formal evaluation to asses their rehabilitation needs. Neurologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists speech and language therapists work together to determine health care plan provided after hospital discharge. Post stroke care services are designed to support patients in their transition from the hospital to home in their pursuit of achieving the highest level of functioning possible. The intensity of rehabilitation varies widely, with the most intensive rehabilitation care provided in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, followed by skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), which provide “subacute” rehabilitation.

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The Neuroscience Institute

We are dedicated to the world-class diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.