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Neuroscience (Neurology)

Stroke Program

At Florida Hospital Orlando, we treat more stroke patients than any other hospital in the state. This experience allows us to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat stroke-related conditions, which is important when time is of the essence. In fact, each of the seven Florida Hospital emergency departments within our Brain Attack Network offers televideo technology. This enables specially trained stroke specialists to help assess and treat stroke patients no matter their location. Florida Hospital is also the only hospital system in the tri-county area to offer 24/7 interventional neuroradiology coverage for stroke patients, including minimally invasive treatment options for even complex stroke-related problems.

Every 45 seconds, somebody in the Unites States suffers a stroke (sometimes called a “brain attack”), or an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. Most commonly, strokes are the result of clogged arteries caused by fatty deposits that build up on the arterial walls, forming a sticky substance called plaque. The risk of stroke is most often linked to high blood pressure, though factors such as age, family history, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease may also play a role, as may excessive body weight, illicit drug use and sleep disorders.

At the Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute’s Brain Attack Center, we specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of stroke. We offer a comprehensive stroke network and a full continuum of care. An interdisciplinary team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, registered nurses, therapists, technicians and case managers reviews each patient's case. Together, these experts create a care plan that matches the patient’s needs.

Our Brain Attack Network consists of seven Florida Hospital campuses throughout Central Florida. It is anchored by the Orlando Comprehensive Stroke Center; in addition, Florida Hospital Altamonte and Florida Hospital East Orlando are also primary stroke centers. The skilled stroke specialists throughout our network can provide advanced treatments that improve our patients’ outcomes and quality of life.

If you’d like to learn more about our Brain Attack Network, please contact us.

Warning signs

When it comes to treating stroke, time is of the essence. It’s vitally important for patients to be aware of the early warning signs of stroke, and immediately seek medical attention. Below are some of these warning signs; some individuals may only experience one or two signs, while others will experience several.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, such as blurred or double vision or difficulty seeing anything on one side of the individual’s body.
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding what is said.
  • Sudden trouble walking; also, sudden dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately. With stroke, there is no time to waste.

Ischemic stroke

The most common type of brain attack is called an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes are the result of a condition called atherosclerosis, which is caused by plaque buildup on the arterial walls. As this plaque builds up, it forces blood to flow abnormally, leading to the formation of a clot. Clots that stay in place in the brain are called cerebral thrombus. Clots that break loose and move through the bloodstream are called cerebral embolisms.

The root cause for most strokes is high blood pressure, though factors such as age, family history, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease may also factor in, as can excessive alcohol consumption, excess body weight, illicit drug use and sleep disorders.

At the Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute’s Brain Attack Center, we treat ischemic strokes by removing the obstruction, thus restoring blood flow to the brain. Clot-busters, such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), are often used to treat people who are having a stroke caused by a blood clot. tPA is a blood thinner administered intravenously at the hospital to people suspected of suffering from a stroke—the sooner it’s given, the better the results. In fact, tPA should be given within the first three hours (though it can be given as much as 4.5 hours) after the onset of symptoms. The quicker it’s given, the more brain tissue may be preserved.

Another treatment option is interventional neuroradiology. Also known as intra-arterial thrombolysis, this is a minimally invasive technique in which doctors insert a thin catheter into a blood vessel of the upper leg and guide it through the blood vessels to the blockage in the brain. tPA is then delivered to dissolve the blockage.

Think F.A.S.T.

Think F.A.S.T. stands for Facial Droop, Arm Drift, Speech and Treatment—all symptoms to look for if you believe someone is having a stroke. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any one of these symptoms (or more), call 911 immediately. With stroke, time is of the essence.