Neurology & Stroke Care

Stroke Center

Award-winning Stroke Program

When it comes to stroke symptoms, time lost is brain lost. Getting medical help within the first few hours after you experience signs of a stroke or mini stroke is critical. With NCH top-notch stroke care conveniently close to home, you can get the help you need right away.

NCH 2015 Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

NCH's stroke program has consistently received high recognition from rating organizations.  As a Comprehensive Stroke Center certified by The Joint Commission, NCH is the destination for stroke care in our area, giving patients experiencing the warning signs of a stroke or mini stroke the best chance of survival and recovery.  

We've received the 2015 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and were named to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll. Furthermore, NCH has been a Five-Star recipient for Treatment of Stroke for 11 years in a row (2005-2015).  Learn more.

Our quality is second to none. The treatment rates at the NCH Stroke Program are better than the national average and highlight a complication rate of .02% over the last two years. Learn more about our stroke quality data.

What is a stroke?

The effectiveness of any stroke therapy depends on how quickly you recognize the symptoms and seek emergency medical care. Illinois law mandates that any patient believed to be suffering from stroke symptoms must be transported to the closest Primary Stroke Center.

More than 85% of strokes are from a clot formation that blocks blood flow to the brain. This is an “ischemic stroke”. This type of stroke can be treated with tPA in certain patients. A hemorrhage or “bleeding” stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain. This type of stroke CANNOT be treated with tPA.

What should you do if you suspect a stroke?

  • Call 911 immediately – a stroke is a medical emergency.
  • Ask to be taken to a Comprehensive Stroke Center such as Northwest Community Hospital. An Illinois law passed in September 2009 mandates that any patient believed to be exhibiting signs of a stroke must be transported to the closest Primary/Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • Be sure to note the time when symptoms first occurred.
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Detection & Diagnosis

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when there is a sudden loss of circulation to an area of the brain. If not diagnosed and treated quickly, a stroke can cause serious long-term disabilities such as trouble speaking or difficulty with comprehension, impaired vision, problems with balance and coordination, confusion and memory loss.

Stroke symptoms

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of your body
  • Confusion or trouble speaking
  • Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

Think F-A-S-T

FACE - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face drop?
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.

Type of Strokes

Ischemic strokes—blood clot in the brain

  • Account for more than 85% of all strokes
  • Blood vessel to the brain becomes narrowed or blocked, cutting off the brain’s oxygen supply
  • Stroke symptoms often begin gradually and worsen over time
  • Most likely to occur at night or first thing in the morning

Hemorrhagic strokes—bleeding in the brain

  • Occur when a blood vessel ruptures in the brain
  • Life-threatening event
  • Often begins suddenly with severe headache, nausea and vomiting
  • Tend to strike at a younger age

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)—mini-strokes

  • Same symptoms as a more serious stroke but only last a few minutes
  • Occur when a blood clot temporarily blocks an artery
  • Usually don’t cause lasting damage
  • But may signal that a more serious stroke is on the way
Treatment 1

Advanced Technology for Diagnosing and Treating Early Signs of a Stroke

Northwest Community Hospital is a Primary Stroke Center. Our skilled physicians have fast access to the Emergency Room, Radiology Department and Neurological intensive Care Unit to treat signs of a stroke. NCH is equipped with advanced diagnostic and treatment devices approved by the American College of Radiology for warning signs of a stroke, including:

  • ACR Certified MR Scanners for high-quality imaging
  • Multi-slice CT scanners for painless, fast, non-invasive views of blood vessels in the chest and brain with less radiation exposure
  • A flat-panel biplane angiography system with a range of advanced 3D applications that allow us to image a patient’s heart, vessels and brain structures with greater speed and precision

Treatment 1

Less Invasive, Safer Treatments

Minimally invasive treatments for signs of a stroke rely upon the neurointerventional team’s ability to “see” what is happening in the brain without performing open surgery.

Using the latest technology, including the Siemens Artis zee biplane system and multi-slice CT, the NCH neurointerventional team is able to see and manipulate three-dimensional images of the patient’s brain, so they can know exactly where the treatment is needed to restore functioning and prevent long-term disability resulting from stroke symptoms.

Treatment 3

Enhancing Immediacy of Care by Remotely Connecting

To save precious minutes, NCH has launched a Telestroke Program, which connects stroke patients with neurologists specializing in stroke care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital via secure Internet conferencing, immediately connecting a stroke patient with a neurologist without waiting for a neurologist to arrive on-site.

Meet the Team
Multidisciplinary team of specialists-nuerostroke

An experienced multi-disciplinary team

Our renowned team features neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventional surgeons, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants and other specialists, who are experienced at diagnosing and treating complex disorders of the brain, nerves and spinal cord.

Meet the team   Meet our pediatric neurological specialists

Ali Shaibani, MD

Director, Stroke & Neurointervention

NCH Team Member

Janice Lau, RN, MSN, APN, CNRN

Jan is NCH's Stroke Program coordinator and involved in the entire stroke care process. She is a clinical nurse specialist with thirty years of experience in critical care and education. She is certified as a tobacco treatment specialist through the Mayo Clinic and provides tobacco cessation strategies with personal risk reduction education.

Patient Stories
Patient Story
Jennifer & Lisa's Story

Jennifer & Lisa's Story

Jennifer and Lisa are placing a face on stroke awareness at NCH by telling their stories of perseverance and triumph to fellow stroke survivors who are just starting out on their journeys to recovery in the hospital's neurology unit.

Read Their Story

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