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Stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency where blood flow to the brain is either reduced or stopped, depriving brain tissue of essential oxygen and nutrients. A stroke may cause loss in brain function and affect movement and speech.

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Stroke specialists in Nashville, Tennessee, and Bowling Green, Kentucky

Our neurologists and stroke specialists help reduce a stroke's impact on your life.

TriStar Health's stroke centers in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky quickly and accurately treat strokes. We also offer emergency rooms (ERs) with neurologists available via our telemedicine programs.

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Stroke symptoms

If you suddenly experience any of the following symptoms, you could be having a stroke:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Numbness or weakness in the face or limbs
  • Severe headache
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble speaking or comprehending
  • Trouble walking

Stroke treatment options

Our patients have access to the latest, most effective treatment options for stroke treatment and rehabilitation.

Stroke treatments and services

We determine the type of stroke you are experiencing and when treatment is needed through a physical exam, diagnostic imaging and blood work.

To quickly treat a blockage, your doctor may administer emergency medicine, such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), intravenously in an endovascular procedure to surgically remove the blockage, which can save brain function and reduce disability. As a result, our emergency physicians can more quickly treat stroke patients in the ER and reduce or eliminate long-term stroke impacts on patients.

To treat a hemorrhage, a neurologist may use medication, such as blood thinners, to lower your blood pressure. If there is extensive bleeding, a neurosurgeon may need to remove the blood and relieve pressure on the brain. You may also undergo surgery to prevent further rupture.

Some of the treatments and services we offer include:

Preventive stroke surgery

Patients may be eligible for preventive surgery to open a narrowed artery and promote healthy blood flow to the brain. Neurosurgeons may remove plaque from narrowed arteries, or they may perform an angioplasty to expand the narrowed artery.

Stroke rehabilitation

Strokes are associated with several debilitating side effects. Patients may have issues with their muscles, vision and speech.

To help with any short-term or long-term effects following a stroke, we offer specialized physical therapy programs to deliver the unique neurorehabilitation services stroke patients need during their recovery.

Our telemedicine program

TriStar Health is the region’s largest telemedicine network, providing lifesaving stroke treatment closer to home. Telemedicine gives your community hospitals and emergency rooms immediate access to acute stroke care, especially in communities where neurologists are not on call 24/7. Since we are made up of a large family of hospitals, our doctors are able to coordinate the rapid transfer of patients to the closest comprehensive stroke center.

How does telemedicine work?

Within seconds of a request for a consultation, a physician can position the telemedicine robot at your bedside and connect via the Internet to a TriStar neurologist specializing in stroke care. The robot provides two-way audio and video communication and includes remote diagnostic devices, such as an electronic stethoscope. TriStar neurologists can remotely examine your ability to move and speak and even zoom in to allow a complete full exam.

By getting immediate access to a neurologist, you may be able to receive time-critical medications.

Types of strokes

A stroke happens when there is a sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain. A person may have a stroke because of a blood clot or similar blockage. A stroke can also happen when a blood vessel bursts. There are three main types of stroke:

Hemorrhagic stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain as a result of complications such as aneurysms (enlargement of an artery) or abnormal tangling of blood vessels.

Hemorrhaging is typically either intracerebral or subarachnoid. An intracerebral hemorrhage happens when an artery in the brain bursts. A subarachnoid hemorrhage happens when bleeding occurs between the brain and the thin tissues covering it.

Ischemic stroke

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. An ischemic stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

A TIA is a type of stroke that lasts only a few minutes. Blood flow can be blocked briefly by a burst blood vessel or blockage (e.g., a plaque buildup that decreases blood flow to the brain).

Though TIAs are short, they still need emergency medical attention. If you notice any signs of a stroke call 911 for help.

How to know if you are having a stroke

The key to stroke treatment is to act F.A.S.T. A person having a stroke needs medical help as soon as possible. Remember this simple acronym to check for common signs of stroke and take action:

  • F = Facial weakness: Can the person smile? Does the mouth or eye droop?
  • A = Arm weakness: Can the person raise both arms? Does one arm drop below the other?
  • S = Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly?
  • T = Time: If any of these symptoms are present, dial 911 for prompt transportation to the closest ER.

How to lower your risk of a stroke

You can minimize the likelihood of a stroke through healthy lifestyle changes. Preventable risk factors include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking

Neurology and stroke overview

Check out an overview of our neurology and stroke program so you know what to expect. We want you to feel right at home.
Adrian Jarquin-Valdivia, MD

Thrive Blog

Read our blogs to learn about preventive care and ways you can lead a healthier lifestyle.

BE FAST: Know the signs and symptoms of a stroke 

April 28, 2022
May is Stroke Awareness Month, and experts say spotting signs and symptoms could help save someone's life.

BE FAST: Know the signs and symptoms of a stroke 

April 28, 2022
May is Stroke Awareness Month, and experts say spotting signs and symptoms could help save someone's life.

Prevent lasting stroke damage 

April 05, 2021
B.E. F.A.S.T. in identifying the symptoms of a stroke and prevent lasting damage.