It takes a specialized team to diagnose and treat strokes. At the University of Michigan Stroke Program, patients are treated by emergency medicine, neurology, neurosurgery and neurointerventional radiology physicians who are specially trained in stroke care. Vascular surgeons, cardiologists, and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians are also part of the care team offering a comprehensive care experience for patients.
Stroke Warning Signs
Abrupt onset of:
- Difficulty with speech
- One side of the face drooping or feeling numb
- Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
- Unexplained clumsiness or falling
- Sudden severe headache
Types of Strokes
- Ischemic stroke – the most common form of stroke occurs when a blood vessel is clogged, stopping blood from flowing to the brain properly. Timing is critical with an ischemic stroke and when presented in a specific time frame, tPA, a clot busting drug, can be administered by our Stroke Team. We have cutting edge technology that allows specially trained physicians to provide advanced ischemic stroke care. Ischemic stroke can be caused by problems in the heart, blockage in arteries in the neck or lacunar stroke, caused by closure of a deep penetrating artery. We have the latest technology to determine the cause of stroke and help prevent it happening again.
- Hemorrhagic stroke – is also referred to as a bleeding stroke and usually happens when a clot has burst or a brain aneurysm is ruptured. Surgery or an interventional radiology procedure is the best option for treatment when aneurysm is the cause. Our physicians have led National writing groups on the care of hemorrhagic stroke.
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – is also referred to as a mini stroke or warning stroke and is a temporary interruption of the blood flow to an area of the brain that is a warning sign that a stroke may soon follow. We are very aggressive about preventing a stroke in patients who have received this warning.
Stroke Intervention and Treatment
Patients who are high risk for stroke, like those with carotid artery disease and a history of high blood pressure, are screened and preventive measures are discussed and encouraged to decrease their risk for stroke. Since the stroke clinic is located in the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, we are able to collaborate with cardiologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and vascular surgeons for a preventive treatment plan including where appropriate:
- Carotid endarterectomy, where a surgeon opens the artery, removes plaque and sutures the artery back in place
- Stent placement, to open the clogged vessel
Together we use the latest scientific information to put the best stroke prevention plan into action for each patient. This may range from lifestyle changes to the most sophisticated testing and treatment to decrease stroke risk.
Stroke patients at U-M are cared for in a dedicated Stroke Unit and Neuro-Intensive Care Unit (NICU). During the patient’s stay, vascular neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroscience nurses with advanced training in stroke care, and a medical team containing experts in stroke treatment and complications, including physical, occupational, speech and language therapists and rehabilitation specialists all work together so patients can have optimal recover for their individual situation. It has been shown that being treated on a dedicated stroke unit improves survival and functional outcome following stroke, as well as decreasing complications and length of hospital stays. The use of these specially-trained physicians and nurses has also been shown to significantly improve stroke patient outcome.
Patients begin working with occupational and physical therapists, and speech and language pathologists as soon as they are medically ready. If therapy is needed after discharge, we work with patients and their families to plan the best recovery strategies.
Accreditations and Recognition
The Stroke Program is accredited as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and participates in the American Stroke Association "Get With The Guidelines®" Quality Initiative. We have repeatedly been designated as an American Heart Association Gold Plus stroke hospital, the highest stroke quality designation. This award recognizes hospitals that provide consistently excellent care following evidence based guidelines. The AHA has recognized the quality of stroke care provided at U-M since 2005.
If you think you or a loved one might be having a stroke, call 911. If you have had a stroke in the past or think you might be at risk for one call us at 1-888-287-1082.