Neuroscience Center

Stroke Program

Excellence in comprehensive stroke care

Getting medical help within the first few hours after you experience the signs of a stroke is critical. With Northwest Community Healthcare’s (NCH) award-winning stroke program close to home, you can get the help you need right away, giving you the best chance of survival and recovery.

Comprehensive Stroke Center designation

NCH is certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and a 2018 recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus designation, the highest recognition for quality and speed in the treatment of stroke.

NCH is the only hospital in Illinois to receive the America’s 100 Best Hospitals Award for Stroke Care™ and all three Healthgrades® Neurosciences Excellence Awards in 2017.

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.

Types of stroke treated

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Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when an area of the brain experiences a sudden loss of circulation. The first step in stroke care is recognizing the symptoms:

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

If you suspect a stroke, think F.A.S.T.

  • 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, call 911.

A stroke is a medical emergency. After calling 911, you will be transported to the nearest Comprehensive Stroke Center, such as Northwest Community Hospital, and taken to the Emergency Department. Be sure to note the time when symptoms of the stroke first occurred. Without immediate treatment, a stroke can result in serious, long-term disabilities, such as trouble speaking and difficulty with comprehension, impaired vision, problems with balance and coordination, confusion and memory loss.

Additional Reading

More about stroke, brain aneurysms and other conditions affected by circulation to the brain.

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Advanced diagnostics for treating early signs of stroke

NCH partners with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to initiate stroke treatment in the ambulance, as patients with the symptoms of stroke are taken to our Emergency Department. Our skilled physicians work quickly with our Radiology Department and Neurological Intensive Care Unit to diagnose and treat signs of a stroke. NCH is equipped with advanced diagnostic and treatment devices approved by the American College of Radiology, including:

  • American College of Radiology (ACR)-certified magnetic resonance (MR) scanners for high-quality imaging
  • Multi-slice computerized tomography (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
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that measures brain activity and changes in blood flow
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Life-saving, minimally invasive treatments

Using the latest technology, the NCH neurointerventional team is able to see and manipulate 3D images of the patient’s brain to show the exact location where treatment is needed, to restore function and prevent long-term disability. Treatments may include:

  • IV treatment using a clot-busting tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), which can limit brain damage and disability if administered within three hours of a suspected stroke
  • Angioplasty to surgically repair or unblock a blood vessel
  • Embolization, also called coiling, to block or control blood flow
  • Endarterectomy to remove blockages in an artery
  • Endovascular procedures to treat problems affecting the blood vessels
  • Surgery to drain or remove blood in or around the brain
  • Thrombectomy to remove blood clots

Our neurointerventional clinical services are available 24/7 for comprehensive stroke rescues.

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On-site rehabilitation services following a stroke

Following hospitalization, our inpatient Rehabilitation Care Unit specializes in treating patients recovering from a stroke. Our state-of-the-art rehabilitation services and specialized care team offer therapies to help patients regain important life skills affected by stroke. Learn more.

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An experienced, integrated team

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians specialize in stroke, neurology, neurological surgery, neurointervention, endovascular surgery and neuroradiology. Magnet® designated nurses, advanced practice nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and rehab specialists work together to provide the best possible care throughout our patients’ recovery.

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Bev Horne was taking a break from her job as a news photographer when she started feeling a severe headache abruptly coming on. After suffering a life-threatening ruptured aneurysm in her brain, she is lucky to be alive.

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