Diagnosis and Treatment

Through fast and expert intervention, we work to save brain cells that can make the difference in your future quality of life. Patients admitted with stroke symptoms are first evaluated to determine the source of the stroke and the extent of damage to the brain. These factors will help your doctor determine the best next steps for treatment. Our Primary Stroke Centers offer the latest equipment and a team of doctors dedicated to maintaining a patient’s understanding and comfort while in our care.

Stroke Treatment Options

Surgery, medications, hospital care and rehabilitation are all stroke treatment options carefully considered by our specialists. Individual treatment plans may include one or more of the following approaches: 

  • Thrombolysis (clot busting): For strokes caused by blood clots, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain. This treatment carries a risk of bleeding in the brain, but its benefits outweigh the risks when an experienced doctor uses it properly. For maximum benefit, the therapy must be started within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms.
  • Mechanical throbectomy: For strokes caused by large blood clots, for which TPA does not work well, minimally invasive surgery can utilize devices called stent retrievers ("stentrievers") to physically remove the blood clot from the blood vessels in the brain through a small incision in the groin.
  • Endarterectomy: When the carotid artery in the neck is partially blocked by a fatty buildup, we may recommend this surgery to remove the plaque.
  • Carotid stenting: Some patients with blockage of the carotid artery in the neck may benefit from opening this blockage with a stent. This is a minimally invasive procedure performed through an incision in the groin, which places a metallic mesh tube within the blood vessel to open the area of narrowing.
  • Cerebral angioplasty and stenting: This technique uses balloons, stents and coils to open up blockages in the brain's blood vessels. This treatment is reserved for patients who continue to have strokes or transient ischemic attacks on the appropriate mediciations listed below.
  • Medication: Use of aspirin and other antiplatelet medications may reduce the risk of future strokes. Use of statins to control cholesterol and antihypertensives to control blood pressure may also reduce the risk of future strokes.

Stroke Chain of Survival at Sentara

Sentara in the Community