Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, either by blockage (ischemic stroke ) or bleeding into the brain tissue (hemorrhagic stroke ). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Stroke Association , stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, about 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, and more than seven million people in the United States are living with the effects of a stroke. Houston Methodist is a leader in stroke education and prevention outreach as well as treatment.

Our Approach
At Houston Methodist, we have certified stroke centers at multiple locations, including the nation’s first comprehensive stroke center at our flagship medical center location, Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center. Our exceptional teams of doctors and highly dedicated nurses provide coordinated, interdisciplinary, rapid-response care for stroke victims with one goal in mind – to use the very latest treatments, with the aim of the best possible recovery for each patient.

INNOVATIVE STROKE RESEARCH: Magnetic Brain Stimulation

By developing a device that stimulates cells around damaged areas of the brain, our researchers are working toward restoring a patient’s motor skills — with the goal of eliminating the devastating effects of stroke.

Leading stroke care

  • Our stroke care specialists include neurologists, neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, cardiologists and rehabilitation therapists. 
  • We provide expert neuro-critical care 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. 
  • Houston Methodist’s use of clot-busting tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) for ischemic stroke treatment is higher than the national average. 
  • We perform state-of-the-art neurovascular and endovascular procedures for repair of aneurysms and other causes of hemorrhagic stroke. 
  • We have proven protocols for diagnosis and treatment of the underlying causes of stroke. 
  • Houston Methodist is an active participant in multiple clinical research trials to improve and advance stroke treatment. 
  • Our award-winning stroke outreach program educates the community about stroke recognition and prevention . 

Tokashemia's Story

Tokashemia Carter suffered from patent foramen ovale (PFO) or a hole in the heart. The condition contributed to a stroke. She participated in a Houston Methodist trial for a PFO implant. "I'm back to living my life," says Tokashemia. Learn more about stroke

Recognizing the Signs of Stroke
Because stroke symptoms can occur suddenly and unexpectedly, it is important to recognize the signs and immediately call 911. An easy way to remember how to
recognize stroke is the BE FAST test:

  • — BALANCE Does the person seem dizzy? Ask if there is a sudden loss of balance.  
  • E— EYES Is there difficulty seeing clearly? Ask if there are sudden changes in vision.  

  • F — FACE Does the face look uneven? Ask the person to smile. 
  • A — ARMS Does one arm drift down? Ask the person to raise both arms. 
  • S — SPEECH Does the person sound strange? Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. 
  • T — TIME If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 911. 

Other signs of stroke may include trouble seeing or walking, dizziness or severe headache without a known cause.

Causes and Prevention of Stroke

Most strokes are ischemic , caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a blood vessel that has burst. Although there can be a genetic component, most cases of stroke can be prevented by making lifestyle changes and managing existing medical conditions, such as not smoking, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet, controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, and lowering your cholesterol level.

Additional information is available to help you learn more about stroke from our caregivers series and support groups:

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