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Primary Stroke Center


FACE   Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARM   Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH   Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
TIME   If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 911!

What should you do if you suspect a stroke?

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Ask to be taken to a Primary Stroke Center such as Northwest Community Hospital. An Illinois law passed in September 2009 mandates that any patient believed to be suffering from a stroke must be transported to the closest Primary Stroke Center.
  • Be sure to note the time when symptoms first occurred.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

  • Numbness or weakness in face, arms or legs, on one side of your body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, blurred vision
  • Severe headache that comes on suddenly with no known cause

What is a Primary Stroke Center?

  • A Primary Stroke Center is an acute care hospital that has the critical elements to improve stroke outcomes for patients experiencing stroke symptoms or stroke warning signs.
  • NCH is certified by The Joint Commission to perform state-of-the-art stroke interventions for patients with stroke symptoms.
  • Leading stroke specialists and a highly trained, multidisciplinary stroke team are trained to recognize the early warning signs of a stroke.
  • We are trained and ready to perform a comprehensive set of interventions at a moment’s notice for any patient, hospital or healthcare provider in the northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin region.
  • To be a Primary Stroke Center, hospitals must be certified every two years; NCH was first certified in 2006, 2008 and renewed in 2010.

What are the latest stroke interventions?

  • If your condition is appropriate, the following comprehensive stroke procedures will be provided to you:
    • Within the first 4.5 hours after a stroke, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting drug administered by IV, may be used to break up the clot that caused the stroke.
    • Up to eight hours after a stroke, neurointerventional radiologists can navigate directly to the clot to dissolve or remove it.
  • These interventions can significantly diminish or reverse the effects of a stroke and prevent long-term disability.

For emergency or urgent intra-hospital transfers, please call our 24-hour Stroke Hotline at 847.618.8888.

To get a physician referral for your neurological care, call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968) or view our multidisciplinary team of stroke specialists.

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Last Updated 05/22/2009