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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.

HCAH_Specialty_NeurologicalCare_Stroke

Primary Stroke Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital offers 24/7 emergency treatment for patients with stroke symptoms, providing comprehensive care from initial diagnosis to rehabilitation.

As a Primary Stroke Center, we have earned recognition from The Joint Commission for following treatment standards based on clinical practice guidelines. This means that, when a stroke occurs, we can offer you the fast, expert treatment that is critical to prevent long-term disability or even death.

Related specialities

Our stroke treatments and services

In addition to diagnosing and treating strokes, we offer many supporting services to help you and your loved ones heal and recover.

Stroke rehabilitation

Depending on the severity and type of stroke a patient experiences, rehabilitation may be needed to aid in the recovery process. Rehabilitation does not reverse any brain damage caused by a stroke. However, it can substantially help achieve the best possible outcome for long-term recovery.

On our campus, the Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida offers the Active Adult Stroke Program, which provides inpatient rehab services to stroke survivors. This institute is the Tri-County's only facility recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International as a Stroke Specialty Program.

Our Active Adult Stroke Program is led by a board-certified physician with expertise in stroke rehab. Patients have access to a range of therapies and advanced technologies to aid in recovery, including:

  • Bodyweight supported exercise equipment
  • Family and caregiver training
  • Fully equipped kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and laundry environments for therapy training
  • Neuromuscular retraining
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • One-on-one therapy with physical, occupational and speech therapists
  • Stroke prevention education
  • Vital stimulation therapies provided by a certified therapist
  • Vocational, family, financial and intimacy counseling

This program offers patients an environment designed specially to enhance the rehabilitation process. Our 20-bed facility includes:

  • All private rooms
  • A designated computer for patient internet access
  • 24/7 emergency services
  • Large communal spaces
  • Open visitation policy
  • Real-life home environments
  • Wi-Fi access for guests

Tours of the facility are available with no appointment necessary.

Stroke support group

We are proud to sponsor the Folks with Strokes support group. The group is open to any individual who has experienced a stroke, their family members and people who want to prevent a future stroke.

The group meetings every other month starting in January. For more information, please call (850) 315-4245.

Stroke prevention for patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib)

Surgeons at our hospital were the first in the Tri-County area to implant the innovative left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) device. This device can be inserted through a single procedure and reduces the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular AFib.

This device is permanent once placed, and heart tissue will begin to grow over it.

Most patients are able to stop taking blood-thinning medication within 45 days after surgery.

Understanding stroke

A stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate emergency care, which is why being knowledgeable about strokes can help save a life.

Types of stroke

A stroke is caused by interrupted blood flow to part of the brain. When blood flow is stopped, that part of the brain can’t receive oxygen and other nutrients. This causes brain cells to die and can result in permanent damage, even death.

There are different types of strokes, including:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke: when a blood vessel ruptures and blood leaks into the brain
  • Ischemic stroke: when a blood clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or "mini stroke": when there is temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain
Stroke symptoms

It’s important to be able to recognize signs of a stroke so you can act quickly when they occur. Common stroke symptoms include sudden:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Severe headache with no known cause (may be accompanied by pain in the face or stiffness in the neck)
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes (such as blurred, blackened or double vision)
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble walking

The symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of a stroke, but they usually last only a few minutes.

If you think someone is experiencing a stroke, call 911.

Stroke risk factors

There are certain factors and conditions that may put you at risk for stroke. However, some of those conditions can often be treated. Some of the major risk factors for stroke include:

  • Being 55 years old and older
  • Having a family history of stroke
  • Having AFib
  • Having diabetes
  • Having heart disease
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having poor circulation

Health Snippets — Stroke

Strokes occur when blood is either restricted or cut off completely to the brain and time can literally be lifesaving. Use the FAST system to identify signs of a stroke.
Caitlin Day, RN

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