On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot – called an ischemic stroke (accounts for ~87% of all strokes) or a ruptured blood vessel – called a hemorrhagic stroke (accounts for ~13% of all strokes). While not classified as a stroke, a transient ischemia attack (TIA) is a temporary episode that produces symptoms of a stroke which disappear after a short time. TIAs are strong indicators of a possible major stroke.
With stroke, time is brain and immediate treatment to restore blood flow is crucial. Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital offers two types of treatment for stroke:
- Tissue plasminogen activator-tPA (alteplase) – an FDA-approved medication to treat ischemic stroke which is administered through a vein. This drug is often called a “clot busting” medication, and is administered to ischemic stroke patients who meet eligibility criteria and arrive at the hospital within 0-4.5 hours of the symptom onset.
- Mechanical thrombectomy – a minimally invasive clot retrieval method that involves inserting a very small catheter through an artery until the blocked blood vessel is reached, a small stent retriever is deployed, the clot is captured and removed, and blood flow is restored to the brain.
Stroke Center Certification
Hillcrest Hospital has been designated a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. Obtaining this certification signifies that Hillcrest Hospital has undergone an extensive onsite evaluation and meets strict national stroke care standards as required by The Joint Commission.
Earning this recognition demonstrates that Hillcrest Hospital’s stroke program follows national guidelines regarding quality and patient safety, which can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients.
Utilizing advanced technology and innovative treatment options, Hillcrest Hospital’s specially-trained stroke team provides an expert level of comprehensive care, diagnosing and treating patients quickly and significantly improving health and recovery time.
In 2023, Hillcrest Hospital also received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus, Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Award. This achievement recognizes Hillcrest Hospital’s commitment and success in implementing the highest standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.
A grading system is used to measure how well blood flow is restored following mechanical thrombectomy treatment. This is called thrombolysis in cerebral infarction (TICI) score. Scoring is defined as follows:
- Grade 3 – Complete restoration of blood flow in the brain
- Grade 2b – Complete restoration of blood flow, but slower than normal
- Grade 2a – Partial restoration of blood flow to the brain
- Grade 1 – Minimal restoration of blood flow to the brain
- Grade 0 – No restoration of blood to the brain
TICI 2b and TICI 3 are considered successful treatments for restoring blood flow in the brain. At Hillcrest Hospital, 95% of patients (Jan. 2020 – May 2021) who received thrombectomy treatment for stroke achieved a grade of TICI 2b or 3 compared to 76% of patients studied nationally in a recent clinical trial.
In addition, patients who undergo thrombectomy treatment for stroke are monitored closely for complications, specifically for serious bleeding events after the procedure. At Hillcrest Hospital, patients experienced a 2.8% rate of bleeding complications (Jan. 2020 – May 2021), as compared to a 7% symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage rate seen in a recent clinical trial.
Patients who have suffered a stroke can receive follow-up care from a neurologist at Hillcrest Hospital. To schedule an appointment, call 440.312.6100.
Hillcrest Hospital reminds you that in a stroke every minute counts. If you think someone is having a stroke dial 9-1-1 immediately and remember the BE FAST method to evaluate whether someone may be having a stroke:
- Balance: Watch for a sudden loss of balance.
- Eyes: Is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes? Or double vision?
- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
To learn more about stroke and stroke services available through Cleveland Clinic, review our resources:
- Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute Cerebrovascular Center
- What is a stroke?
- Signs and symptoms of a stroke
- Understanding stroke
- Stroke: Know Your Risk Factors
- Stroke: Prevention & Treatment – Diet & Nutrition
- Stroke & Diabetes
- Stroke: Effects on the brain
- Stroke: Behavioral Changes
- Stroke: Tips for caregivers
- Stroke Rehabilitation Services
- Stroke Rehabilitation Specialists
- Stroke Associations and Foundations