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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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Comprehensive stroke care in Fort Pierce, Florida

When a stroke occurs, you want to know you're receiving the best care possible.

At HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital, we treat all types of stroke, provide immediate complex neurovascular procedures and have a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit (ICU). Additionally, we connect patients with community resources and host support groups to help stroke survivors achieve the highest quality of life possible. Working together, our entire team is dedicated to your long-term health and recovery.

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Stroke is a medical emergency.

If you believe someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately. 

If you believe someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately. 

Our hospital's stroke treatment program

Our stroke team works together to quickly diagnose a stroke and perform the most effective treatment.

Nationally and regionally recognized stroke center

Our emergency room (ER) team is prepared and equipped to provide emergency stroke treatment 24/7.

HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital offers the area's first and only facility recognized as a Primary Stroke Center and Advanced Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center by The Joint Commission as well as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

Stroke treatment

Our stroke center sees five to eight “stroke alert” patients daily. We use a streamlined treatment protocol that begins before patients arrive. Each team member receives a text or page alert that a patient is on the way. A neurointerventionalist and an emergency medicine physician meet the patient at the entrance. Our doctors then conduct a mobile evaluation while we transport the patient to our computerized tomography (CT) scanner, which is kept on standby for the patient’s arrival.

Medication to treat stroke

Following the CT scan, we’ll make a decision about the best way to treat the stroke. If there’s no bleeding in the brain, we’ll administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is a clot-busting drug. If the stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain instead of by a clot, tPA isn’t a treatment option.

Endovascular surgery

In some cases, surgery is the best way to treat a stroke. We can perform catheter-directed thrombolysis to remove a clot from the brain and reestablish blood flow. If you need surgery, we’ll operate immediately.

Pediatric stroke care

Our stroke center is one of only a handful of stroke centers in the U.S. with a pediatric service. Although it’s rare, children as young as three years old can have strokes and need even more specialized care than adults.

Neurological intensive care

Our stroke center includes a 24-bed neuroscience ICU with special equipment, including a CT scanning machine and an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine that continuously monitors your brain waves. At our neuroscience ICU, medical professionals trained specifically in stroke treatment care for stroke patients and people with other neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries.

Stroke rehabilitation

Physical therapy and rehabilitation is often a necessary step of stroke recovery. That's why we employ occupational therapists and physical therapists trained to help patients who have experienced strokes. These therapists work with you and your doctor to personalize a therapy plan to help you make a healthy recovery.

Stroke support groups

We've partnered with other community resources, including the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, to provide inpatient and outpatient support groups. These groups are designed to educate people about the signs and symptoms of a stroke or transient ischemic attack and to reiterate the importance of calling for emergency services when needed. In addition, support groups teach survivors and caregivers about other community resources and the coping mechanisms needed to work toward optimal health.

Our Stroke Support Group typically meets the third Friday of every month in the cafeteria from noon to 1:30pm. However, due to the COVID-19 surge, we are not holding the Stroke Support Group at this time. For updates and more information about this group, please call (772) 742-9050.

Understanding stroke

A stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate emergency care, which is why being knowledgeable about stroke 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 you are experiencing a stroke, don't drive. 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 atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Having diabetes
  • Having heart disease
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having poor circulation

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