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The First Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in Miami-Dade

What does it mean to be Thrombectomy-capable Stroke Center?

Stroke Gold AwardIt means North Shore Medical Center meets the rigorous standards for performing Endovascular Therapy (EVT), a specialized surgical procedure to remove a blood clot from the brain during an Ischemic Stroke. It means North Shore Medical Center has the capacity to perform Endovascular Therapy (EVT) around the clock, seven days a week.

Every 40 seconds in the United States someone has a stroke, making it the fifth leading cause of death among adults. Our center is equipped with some of the latest diagnostic and therapeutic advances to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat stroke patients. Patients benefit from a range of comprehensive medical, surgical and minimally invasive treatment options, as well as access to clinical trials and research.

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians and specialists includes emergency medicine physicians, neurohospitalists, neurosurgeons, interventional neurologists, radiologists, intensivists, and nurses with advanced training. Upon arrival, the team works together to provide every patient with a comprehensive evaluation and collaborative management.

What is Stroke?

A stroke is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to begin dying from lack of oxygenated blood.

There are two major kinds of stroke:

  • Ischemic Stroke - The most common, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. This clot causes a region of the brain to be deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients, leading to death of brain cells.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke - This type of stroke is caused by a blood vessel breaking and bleeding into the brain. Two types of weakened blood vessels that typically cause hemorrhagic stroke are aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
    • Brain Aneurysms - A brain aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel develops a weak area in the wall that allows the vessel to balloon out and fill with blood.
    • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) - AVMs happen when a group of blood vessels in your body forms incorrectly. In these malformations, arteries and veins are unusually tangled.

Stroke Signs and Symptoms

  • A sudden, severe headache
  • Seizures
  • Loss of sensation in part of the body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in vision
  • Facial paralysis
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Problems speaking
  • Changes in a sense of smell
  • Problems with motion
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness

If you experience any of the stroke signs, or identify the signs in someone else, act F.A.S.T. and dial 911. Use the National Stroke Association’s F.A.S.T. test to help you remember the warning signs and symptoms of stroke:

  • Face - Facial weakness - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms - Arm weakness - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech - Speech problems - Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the patient repeat the sentence correctly?
  • Time - If a person is having trouble with these basic commands, call 911 immediately.

Use F.A.S.T. to help you remember the signs.

Treating Stroke

Strokes are fast. We’re faster. At North Shore Medical Center, we treat strokes as a medical emergency. Once a “code stroke” is called our stroke team is activated and ready to provide our patients with rapid treatment. Most strokes are caused by blood clots plugging a blood vessel or artery in the brain. This type of stroke may be treated with a clot busting drug called IV tPA (intravenous tissue plasminogen activator). The drug has been found to be most effective when administered within three hours of symptom onset. Time is extremely important when stopping a stroke in progress and minimizing the potential damage.

Endovascular Treatment

Our Interventional Neurology team provides a minimally invasive, endovascular approach to treating strokes, aneurysms, and neurovascular diseases of the brain and spine. Using catheters and radiology, our interventional neurologists perform minimally invasive procedures, such as stent placement and embolization.

These procedures are performed under the guidance of advanced X-ray monitors. Recent advances in imaging capabilities enable our highly-trained interventional neurologists to treat blocked arteries of the brain by removing, breaking-up, or even sucking out the blood clot.

Our facility has invested millions of dollars in neurointerventional equipment and devices. With the assistance of this equipment, our physicians are dedicated to saving lives and allowing patients to return to a normal life, in some cases without any loss of function.

At North Shore Medical Center, the following endovascular procedures are available:

  • Thrombolytic therapy - This procedure uses the clot busting drug called IV tPA (intravenous tissue plasminogen activator) to treat qualifying acute ischemic stroke patients.
  • Cerebral angiography (Angiogram) - This procedure allows our Interventional Neurologists view how blood is flowing within the brain. Our Interventional Neurologist inserts a catheter into a large blood vessel and injects contrast dye. The contrast dye causes the blood vessels to appear on the X-ray image.
  • Carotid artery angioplasty/stenting - This procedure is used to treat carotid artery stenosis. Carotid artery stenosis is the narrowing in one or both of the carotid arteries caused by the buildup of plaque on the inside of the artery. During this procedure, our Interventional Neurologists inserts a catheter into a groin artery and guides the catheter to the affected carotid artery in your neck. A small balloon at the tip of the catheter is then inflated to clear the passage way. In some cases, a stent (tiny mesh tube) may be placed in the affected to area to keep the artery open.

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