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UVA Stroke Center

When You Have a Stroke, This is Where You Want to Be

UVA's multidisciplinary vascular neurology and stroke team includes board-certified stroke neurologists, neurointensivists, emergency department doctors, interventional neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and specially trained stroke care nurses. The team is on call around the clock to quickly provide appropriate treatment for stroke patients, which is key to providing the best outcomes.

Our services include evaluation and treatment of cerebral aneurysms, intercranial hemorrhages, vascular malformations (also known as AVMs), carotid artery disease and more. Find out more about stroke causes, risk factors and more.

UVA's Stroke Center

  • We meet the recommendations of the American Stroke Association Comprehensive Stroke Center guidelines. This means we can provide emergency stroke care at the onset of the stroke based on national guidelines. Quick care like this can help minimize or even reverse the potential problems of stroke.
  • We offer some of the safest and most effective surgeries in the country – and we can treat you with the least amount of surgery more than 80 percent of the time.
  • We offer the fastest and most advanced stroke care in the region through our acute stroke intervention team, advanced neuro-imaging capabilities and stroke genetics and epidemiology tools.
  • We're among the first to develop or try new technologies. Recent innovations include using one of the first biplane intraoperative MRIs. This new imaging technology gives our neurosurgeons the ability to perform intra-operative angiograms and MRIs, providing the most accurate images possible during surgery. Our surgeons are now able to make quick changes during surgery, if necessary, in a way that would be impossible without this new technology.
  •  We are certified by the Joint Commission, the American Heart Association and the American UVA is certified by the Joint Commission, the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association as a Primary Stroke Center.Stroke Association as a Primary Stroke Center – recognition that we provide exceptional safety and services.

When a Stroke Happens

Our Stroke Team

On call 24 hours a day, UVA’s Acute Stroke Team includes specialty-trained stroke neurologists and a range of other specialists who will evaluate and treat you within minutes. A rapid evaluation is essential to providing the right treatment at the right time.

Our stroke team includes:

  • Neurologists who specialize in treating stroke
  • Emergency room doctors
  • Cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgeons
  • Interventional neuroradiologists
  • Stroke-trained nursing staff for a dedicated 10-bed stroke unit and 12-bed neuro-intensive care unit

Stopping Stroke

Clotting causes most strokes. Here at UVA, we can use a clot-busting drug, known as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). UVA was instrumental in this drug’s development, and it’s still the only FDA-approved drug therapy for acute stroke. The drug is now used everywhere, but it must be given within the first three hours or so of the onset of symptoms to be effective.

We also offer other clot-busting medications, depending on the timing of your treatment. In addition, a number of new endovascular devices are available that can remove the clot directly from the blood vessels in the brain. Studies have shown that some of these techniques may be successful in close to 90 percent of patients. 

Stroke Prevention After a First Stroke

We're increasingly able to provide further stroke prevention after an initial event. This preventative technique may involve using balloon angioplasty or stents in the blood vessels in the neck, or by carotid endarectomy in which the blood vessel is opened and the stroke-causing legion is removed. These techniques may also performed to treat narrowing of the blood vessels of the brain.

Minimizing Risk After Stroke

When a patient's stroke cannot be prevented in time, the brain may swell and put their lives at risk. In these cases, our neurosurgeons may perform a decompressive craniectomy. In this procedure, a portion of the patient's skull is removed in order to allow room for the brain to swell. Once the swelling stops, the bone may be replaced.

 

Treating Stroke – Remotely

Stroke video still

By using telemedicine equipment set up in emergency rooms across the state, our neurologists can rapidly evaluate patients without being in the emergency room. Watch the video to learn more.

 

Surgery

Our doctors excel at specialized surgical treatments to treat stroke caused by aneurysms or other cerebral vessel diseases like AVMs:

  • Aneurysm clipping, where our cerebrovascular surgeons performs microsurgery to remove part of the skull and place a metal clip across the aneurysm to prevent blood flow into the aneurysm sac. This procedure can result in immediate protection from aneurysmal rupture.
  • Aneurysm coiling, a less invasive technique in which our specialists place catheters into an artery of the groin and place tiny platinum coils or stents to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. This procedure typically involves less recovery time, although not all aneurysms may be suitable for these procedures.
  • AVM resection, where our neurosurgeons remove part of the skull and use microneurosurgery to remove an AVM completely. This protects a patient from AVM rupture but may not be suitable for all lesions. 
  • Gamma Knife, which can be used for small AVMs that are located in or near critical brain areas or are very deep inside the brain.
  • AVM embolization, where a glue-like material is injected directly into the arteries supplying an AVM. This can sometimes cure an AVM, but is typically used to make surgery safer or prior to Gamma Knife.

After Stroke: Continued Recovery

We offer specialized care to speed your recovery.
Our Nerancy Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) provides state-of-the-art care:

  • Intensive observation and monitoring following a stroke
  • Special care when recovering from brain or spine surgery
  • Compassionate and highly skilled nursing care

Our Stroke Unit provides high-standard care to help you recover from a stroke, including:

  • State-of-the-art digital systems for tracking your heart functions
  • Specially trained staff, including social workers, to help you with everything from returning to work to dealing with social and medical issues

For Ongoing Stroke Care

We have several specialized stroke clinics (patients are seen by doctor referral):

  • UVA Comprehensive Stroke Clinic: This clinic is for prompt evaluation of newly referred patients or the continuing care of UVA patients after they leave the hospital.
  • Endovascular Neurosurgery and Interventional Neuroradiology Clinic: This is a specialized outpatient stroke clinic that evaluates patients with advanced cerebrovascular disease. 
  • Neurovascular Laboratory: This clinic provides ongoing testing for carotid artery disease.

We also offer stroke rehabilitation services, including an extensive range of services to help you return home with maximum function and independence:

Clinical Trials

UVA has a long history of designing and participating in cutting-edge clinical trials. Find out about some of our current neurological clinical trials.

Signs of Stroke

If you experience these warning signs, call 911 immediately:

  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg — especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding simple statements
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
  • Sudden and severe headache with no apparent cause

Find out more about stroke prevention and support.

Get Ready

Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Appointment

  • If you can, bring one person with you, like a family member or friend.
  • Write down your questions before you go to your appointment.
  • Take notes at your appointment, or have your family member or friend take notes for you.
Conditions We Treat

Aneurysm

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)

Carotid and vertebrobasilar disease

Cerebral aneurysms

Epidural and subdural hematomas

Intracranial hemorrhage

Ischemic stroke syndromes

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Transient ischemic attack

Stroke Quality Data

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Compare, UVA's stroke quality metrics from Jan. 1, 2013, to June 30, 2013, were:

  • Patients who received VTE prophylaxis before discharge - 98%
  • Patients discharged on antithrombotic therapy - 98%
  • Patients with atrial fibrillation/flutter who received anticoagulation therapy before discharge - 100%
  • Patients who received thrombolytic therapy before discharge - 100%
  • Patients who received antithrombotic therapy by the end of the second day in the hospital - 96%
  • Patients who received statin medicine before discharge - 91%
  • Patients who received educational material about stroke care before discharge - 83%
  • Patients who were assessed for rehabilitation services before discharge - 100%
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