After a Stroke

When someone is having a stroke, every second counts. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate care to prevent lasting effects. That’s why it’s important to call 911 right away if someone shows signs of a stroke.

Emergency care for stroke intervention

At CHI Franciscan Health, stroke experts in all our hospitals’ emergency departments are ready 24/7 to offer immediate, lifesaving care for people having a stroke. Whenever a stroke patient enters one of our emergency rooms, our expert “code neuro” team mobilizes immediately.

Those needing a higher level of care, depending on the location and nature of the stroke, will often be treated by a neurointerventional radiologist in a sophisticated interventional suite or a neurosurgeon in an operating room equipped for neurosurgery. Both types of physicians have years of advanced training within their specialty areas.

For people with ischemic stroke (blood clot that blocks a blood vessel in the brain), we work to open the vessel by either:

  • Dissolving the clot with medications such as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), administered intravenously into a vessel, most often in the arm
  • Delivering tPA or other clot-busting medications directly to the clot inside the brain via a catheter (thin flexible tube)
  • Removing the clot using endovascular procedures in which physicians thread a catheter through an artery to reach the blood clot in the brain. Once inserted into the catheter, a clot-retrieval device captures and pulls the clot from the vessel into the catheter.

For hemorrhagic stroke (blood vessel that ruptures in the brain) and aneurysm (bulge in an artery wall), we find and control the bleeding by:

  • Blocking the aneurysm using advanced endovascular procedures in which neurointerventional radiologists use a catheter to “coil” thin mesh wire inside the aneurysm
  • Inserting stents into the artery to redirect proper blood flow in an endovascular procedure
  • Clamping the aneurysm to prevent further bleeding or bursting using open surgery and performed by a neurosurgeon

After a stroke: ongoing care

Following stroke intervention treatment, we offer dedicated care in our Neuro Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Located at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, the neuro ICU features staff who are trained and experienced in stroke recovery.

After recovering in the neuro ICU and other neuro-dedicated units, our patients may stay in our nationally accredited rehabilitation unit for additional care before going home. We offer inpatient rehabilitation services, including therapy services and education.

Find a doctor

Prevention is the best way to stay healthy. Work with your primary care doctor to make sure you’re up to date on health screenings and managing any chronic conditions well. Don’t have a primary care doctor? Find a doctor online or call 888-825-3227 for a referral.