Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center

Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center

Your Care Is Our Priority.

Our Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC) certification from The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, signifies that Halifax Health meets rigorous standards for performing mechanical endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), a specialized surgical procedure used to remove a blood clot from the brain during an ischemic stroke.

What We Offer

Halifax Health is the longest-standing Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in our community.

  • Neurosurgeons and neurologists coverage 24/7/365

  • Expert interventional neuro-radiologists

  • Advanced imaging capabilities including MRI and cerebral angiography

  • Advanced surgical and endovascular techniques including clipping and coiling intracranial aneurysms and intra-arterial thrombolysis

  • Dedicated stroke unit staffed with nurses who have advanced stroke education and expertise to care for stroke patients

  • Dedicated neurological intensive care unit with the capacity to care for patients who have received interventional treatment following a stroke including clot-busting drugs and advanced surgical and endovascular techniques

  • Clinical trial research

Additional Information

  • Patients have access to the latest diagnostic technologies to pinpoint specific disorders. We are using advanced imaging technologies to produce scans of the brain and the spinal cord that provide our healthcare teams with vital information such as blood flow and electrical activity in the brain and how well nerves are conducting electrical impulses to muscles. Armed with this information, Halifax Health’s Comprehensive Stroke Center can diagnose and treat patients more successfully.

    The following diagnostic studies are performed at Halifax Health:

    • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan is generally the first diagnostic test done after a patient with a suspected stroke arrives in the emergency room. It is used to quickly distinguish between an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. The test involves the use of low-dose x-rays to visualize the brain.

    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic tool that provides a high level of anatomic detail for precisely locating the stroke and determining the extent of damage. Due to its high level of sensitivity, MRI is considered especially useful when the stroke involves small blood vessels. The technology involves use of a strong magnetic field, and is performed in a special room free of metallic equipment.

    • Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain. Special sensors (electrodes) are attached to your head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records your brain’s electrical activity on the screen or on paper as wavy lines. Certain conditions, such as seizures, can be seen by the changes in the normal pattern of the brain’s electrical activity.

    • PET Scanning, which measures brain cell metabolism, can determine if brain tissue is functioning even if blood flow to that area appears to be diminished

    • Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) involves placing a flexible tube in the esophagus to directly image the heart.

    • Carotid Duplex Scanning is a noninvasive study to diagnose blockage in the carotid arteries. This technology involves recording sound waves (ultrasound) that reflect the velocity of blood flow.

    • Cerebral Angiography (angiogram) is a diagnostic study that requires injection of a contrast dye through access in major artery (usually the femoral artery in the thigh) for evaluation of blood flow to the brain. This procedure is completed in Halifax Health’s Endovascular/Special Procedures Radiology Lab. The procedure time is approximately two to three hours; bed rest for six hours is required after the procedure.

  • Halifax Health offers several techniques for patients with AVMs or aneurysms once considered impossible to treat because of their location or size.

    Advanced Surgical Techniques

    Carotid Endarterectomy

    • Carotid endarterectomy is a procedure used to remove atherosclerotic plaque from the carotid artery when this vessel is blocked. It has recently been proven that for certain patients with minor strokes or TIAs, carotid endarterectomy is highly beneficial in preventing future strokes. This procedure is also beneficial for some patients with blockage of the carotid arteries who have not had previous symptoms.

    Stereotactic Microsurgery for AVMs and Aneurysms

    • Stereotactic microsurgery is one of the most dramatic new surgical procedures for AVMs and certain aneurysms that were once considered untreatable. It employs sophisticated computer technology and geometric principles to pinpoint the precise location of the AVM. During the procedure, a custom-fitted frame is attached to the patient’s head and three-dimensional reference points are established using CT or MRI. This technique allows neurosurgeons to locate the AVM within one or two millimeters so they can operate, using microscope-enhanced methods and delicate instruments, without affecting normal brain tissue.

    Stereotactic Radiosurgery for AVMs

    • Stereotactic radiosurgery is a minimally invasive, relatively low-risk procedure, that uses the same basic techniques as stereotactic microsurgery to pinpoint the precise location of the AVM. Once located, the AVM can be obliterated by focusing a beam of radiation that causes it to clot and then disappear. Due to the precision of this technique, normal brain tissue usually is not affected. This procedure is generally performed on an outpatient basis.

    Revascularization of the Blood Supply

    • Revascularization is a surgical technique for treating aneurysms or blocked cerebral arteries. The technique essentially provides a new route of blood to the brain by grafting another vessel to a cerebral artery or providing a new source of blood flow to the brain.

    New Medications

    The clot-dissolving drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), treats strokes caused by blood clots, as blood clots cause about 80 percent of all strokes. The tPA dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain. tPA carries a risk of bleeding in the brain, but its benefits outweigh the risks when an experienced doctor uses it properly. Not every stroke patient, particularly those having a hemorrhagic stroke, should be treated with tPA. That is why it’s extremely important to determine the type of stroke very quickly. tPA is effective only if given promptly. For maximum benefit, the therapy must be started within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. That’s why it’s so critical that medical professionals and the public recognize stroke as a medical emergency and respond immediately.

  • In addition to new techniques, Halifax Health is pioneering a number of new interventional radiology procedures to prevent stroke in patients with selected high-risk AVMs, aneurysms, and partially blocked arteries. These endovascular procedures are performed within the blood vessel.

    Endovascular Treatment of Aneurysms

    • Endovascular treatment of aneurysms is a new interventional neuro-radiologic technique, which greatly benefits patients with serious medical conditions who are unable to sustain the stress of surgery. Platinum coils are guided into the aneurysm via a catheter, creating a clot that effectively closes the aneurysm off from the surrounding circulation, preventing the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in the future.

    Endovascular Blood Clot Removal

    • The Solitaire and Penumbra™ devices are designed to restore blood flow in large vessel ischemic strokes though a minimally invasive procedure. Once the location of the clot has been identified using angiography, the thrombectomy device is inserted through a small incision in the femoral artery in the groin. Under x-ray guidance, the thrombectomy device is maneuvered up to the carotid artery in the neck, a guidewire and the thrombectomy devices are deployed just beyond the clot. The physician then deploys the thrombectomy device to engage and ensnare the clot. Once the clot is captured, the device is completely removed from the body.

    Endovascular Treatment of AVMs

    • Endovascular treatment of AVMs is also available at Halifax Health. One innovative form of treatment involves use of a “super glue” substance introduced via a tiny catheter to reduce the size of the AVM and facilitate further microsurgical or radiation treatment. In some cases, it is possible to completely block off and cure the AVM with endovascular treatment alone.

    Angioplasty and Stenting of Vessels in the Neck and Brain

    • Angioplasty and stenting of vessels in the neck and brain are other new endovascular procedures. Cerebral angioplasty is similar to a widely used cardiology procedure, and is used to open partially blocked vertebral and carotid arteries in the neck, as well as blood vessels within the brain. Stenting of carotid or vertebral arteries and large cerebral veins involves use of a fine, tubular wire mesh to hold the vessel open.

  • Medical Expertise

    Halifax Health brings together the expertise of specialists in many different areas to provide our patients with the benefit of a collaborative team approach. The team includes physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-radiologists, neuropsychologists, emergency medicine, rehabilitation medicine specialists and a dedicated nursing staff.

    Neuro-radiologists/interventional radiologists specifically trained in rapidly diagnosing strokes via computerized tomography (CT) scans, as well as treating strokes via minimally invasive approach, (Solitaire or Penumbra devices) are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Emergency department physicians and clinicians are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment stroke.

    Halifax Health neurosurgeons specially trained in performing surgical procedures relating to hemorrhagic strokes (strokes caused by blood vessels bursting in the brain) and interventional radiologists are standing by 24 hours a day to support the urgent needs of our patients.

    Our rehabilitation team has had over seventeen years of experience in stroke related rehabilitation. For patients that require rehabilitation to revoke from stroke, this begins as soon as medically possible. Our rehabilitation staff includes physicians specializing in rehabilitation medicine and physical/occupation/speech therapy weekly team conferences are held through the patient’s hospitalization to progress through the rehab process. For patients that need ongoing inpatient rehabilitation, the Halifax Health Brooks Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation is located within Halifax Hospital. This center is rated nationally in the top ten percent in quality of care and patient outcomes. Continued rehabilitation can also be provided through home health services and in our outpatient clinics. Our Daytona campus provides specialty outpatient services for stroke rehabilitation including advanced equipment.

    We are staffed with endovascular surgeons specifically trained in performing surgical procedures related to strokes caused by blockage in arteries of the neck.

    2021 Halifax Health Stroke Program Data

    • We have cared for 850 stroke patients during the year of 2021.

    • We have treated nearly 150 patients with Endovascular stroke therapy, a non-surgical treatment for sudden loss of brain function due to blood clots, and successfully achieved return of blood flow in nearly 80% of the patients.

    • Our Door to Arterial puncture times are nearly 20 minutes faster than other like hospitals – helping to decrease stroke size and disability.

    • Our rate of sustainable reperfusion post Endovascular stroke therapy is 5% higher than the national average at 86%.

    • Approximately 70% of our stroke patients were discharged home or to our Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation after care.

    • Our median arrival to treatment time for Alteplase is 40 minutes, with 52% of our treatments given under 30 minutes.

  • Our greatest reward is caring for our patients. That’s why we’re committed to turning treatment guidelines into lifelines.

    As a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center, Halifax Health is the proud recipient of the Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Achievement Award which means that we have once again reached an aggressive goal of treating stroke patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for 24 consecutive months. In addition, those hospitals have demonstrated 75 percent compliance to seven out of ten stroke quality measures during the 12-month period.

    Get With The Guidelines® puts the unparalleled expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. Developed with the goal to save lives and hasten recovery, Get With The Guidelines programs have touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001.

    Most hospitals that implement Get With The Guidelines® realize measurable results, including improved patient outcomes and fewer recurring events. It’s a difference that shows in the lives of patients and their families and in the satisfaction felt by caregivers empowered to do their best.

    In Addition

    Halifax Health additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite with Advanced Therapy award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must achieve Door to Needle and Door to Device in 90 minutes or less in 50% of patients arriving directly, and Door to Needle and Door to Device in 60 minutes or less in 50% of transfer patients to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.

    We were also awarded the association's Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must qualify for the Silver level or higher achievement award in Get With The Guidelines- Stroke and achieve an overall diabetes cardiovascular initiative composite score of 80% or greater.

    According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

    To read more about this award, visit the link: Get With The Guidelines Stroke Awards 2022 | Halifax Health

  • Signs & Symptoms of a Brain Attack

    • Sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis of your face, arm or leg.

    • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech.

    • Blurred, double or decreased vision

    • Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.

    • A severe ‘out of the blue’ headache possibly along with facial pain, pain between the eyes, vomiting or altered consciousness.

    • Confusion or problems with memory, spatial orientation or perception.

    Seek Help Promptly

    If you or someone you know experiences any of the warning signs listed above, it is extremely important to seek emergency help right away. Call 911 immediately, even if you think that you are getting better or if the symptoms seem to disappear. If the symptoms last for more than 10 to 15 minutes, appear frequently or seem to get worse, ask the emergency responders for urgent transportation to the nearest appropriate emergency medical facility.

    Unfortunately, patients often do not seek help for a day or more after the first symptoms appear. By that time, it is usually too late for new treatments to be effective. Recognizing and responding to the warning signs of stroke – as soon as they appear – gives the patient the best chance for an optimal recovery.

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