Winchester Medical Center (WMC) is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center certified
by the Joint Commission. Patients who receive treatment at a Primary Stroke
Center have the best chance to survive a stroke and go on to have meaningful
recovery. Valley Health (VH) and WMC have one of the most advanced stroke
centers in the region and is currently the only Primary Stroke Center
in the Shenandoah Valley.
The residents of the Shenandoah Valley and beyond who receive care at any
of our Emergency Departments in other VH facilities in the state of Virginia
also benefit from advanced stroke care any time of the day or night. Neurologists
who are based at WMC can provide expert consultation via state-of-the-art
video conferencing technology known as telestroke 24 hours a day, seven
days a week.
Rapid Identification of Stroke
From the time a patient arrives to the Emergency department, the stroke
team is able to diagnose and provide treatment within minutes. The rapid,
coordinated efforts of our team of physicians, nurses, and technicians
quickly identify patients with symptoms of stroke and fast-track them
to appropriate medical and surgical interventions. TIME is BRAIN –
nearly half of patients who receive treatment for stroke within 3 hours
of symptom onset will experience little and sometimes no disability from
stroke. To learn more about signs and symptoms of stroke, factors associated
with increased risk of stroke, and how to prevent stroke from occurring, please
Quick access to advanced diagnostic
neuroimaging techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI), are essential to the stroke team in providing key information about
the type of stroke, the blood vessel that is blocked, and the extent of
damage that has occurred. This information is critical and helps define
the course of treatment that is best for each patient. Other sophisticated
diagnostics tests, including angiography, transcranial doppler (TCD),
electroencephalogram (EEG), echocardiogram, and carotid duplex are also
important to assist the care team in prescribing ongoing treatment to
prevent stroke from reoccurring in the future.
Rehabilitation is an essential part of the treatment program for patients
who have had a stroke. Each patient is evaluated by trained experts in
physical, occupational and speech therapy to determine an individualized
plan for recovery. Many patients experience weakness on one side of the
body, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, learning difficulties,
memory loss, vision changes, or emotional/behavioral changes as a result
of stroke. These physical or psychosocial deficits can range from mild
to severe depending on the size and location of the stroke in the brain.
Our team of rehab specialists will prescribe a course of treatment that
will help each patient return to the highest possible level of function
and independence. Rehabilitation is comprehensive, ranging from intense
therapy in the hospital to outpatient rehabilitation. To learn more about
the options available within Valley Health,
Winchester Medical Center was one of the facilities involved in the original
ground-breaking clinical trial that determined the effectiveness of tPA
(clot buster drug) for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in 1996.
Today, this is still the only FDA approved medication that is known to
reduce permanent deficit associated with stroke in a significant number
of patients. Valley Health and WMC continue to enroll in stroke related
clinical trials to help in the fight to reduce the devastating disability
associated with this disease process. In many cases, patients who have
received stroke care at our facility are included in advanced or investigational
stroke therapies not always available at other stroke centers.
One of the primary goals of the Valley Health Stroke Service is to help
the members of our community prevent stroke before it occurs. On several
occasions throughout the year, staff members from our stroke center provide
educational and screening programs at little or no cost to the participant.
Education is focused on identification of individual risk factors for
stroke, lifestyle changes to prevent stroke, early identification of signs
and symptoms of stroke, and immediately calling 911 or emergency medical
services as soon as signs and symptoms occur.
For more information about the Valley Health Stroke Service, please contact:
Laurie Schutz BSN, RN, CNRN
Neuroscience Program Coordinator