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Stroke care

A stroke happens when blood and oxygen can’t flow to your brain as normal. There are two types of stroke: ischemic stroke (the most common) and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic means the blood flow is blocked. Hemorrhagic means there is bleeding in the brain.

Geisinger treats all types of strokes, including the most severe. We have the best diagnostic tools, and the latest medications and protocols to treat stroke patients and provide comprehensive follow-up care.

Why choose Geisinger for stroke care?  

Comprehensive Stroke Center

Geisinger Medical Center and AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center are Comprehensive Stroke Centers because the clinicians and care teams have passed all the rigorous requirements set by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. These include:

  • Having an acute stroke team with training and expertise in stroke treatment available 24/7 in order to evaluate the arrival of any patient within 15 minutes who may be suffering a stroke.
  • Having a certified neurosurgeon available 24/7 to provide neurosurgical services to stroke patients within two hours of when the services are needed.
  • Having guidelines approved by TJC and AHA/ASA for emergency treatment of stroke patients. These guidelines enable the immediate diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients, as instant stroke treatment is needed in order to eliminate – or minimize – complications.
  • Being known by area emergency medical services (EMS) or rescue squads as the best place to take patients suspected of suffering a stroke, and how long it will take to arrive there. If the distance is too great, the patient will be taken to a primary care hospital initially. Once stabilized, the patient taken to a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • Having the EMS crew in constant communication with the hospital so the care team will be prepared to immediately begin treatment when the patient arrives.
  • Having professionally trained emergency department clinicians to diagnose and treat stroke. This allows for instant lines of communication between EMS and the acute stroke team.
  • Having accredited expertise in performing and evaluating brain imaging studies (neuroimaging via CT or MRI scan) within 45 minutes of time ordered. A specialist is present 24/7 to interpret findings.
  • Having laboratory services available 24/7. Time is of the essence in treating stroke. Any minute lost may mean the difference between life and death.
  • Having a neurological intensive care unit where patients with brain trauma are treated exclusively because they require minute-by-minute monitoring and care beyond those first life-threatening minutes.

Primary Stroke Center

The American Heart Association advises that a patient be taken to a Primary Stroke Center first if a Comprehensive Stroke Center is too far away. There the patient will be stabilized and emergency care given until a transfer to a Comprehensive Stroke Center can be arranged.

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center – Mainland Campus, Geisinger Community Medical Center, Geisinger Holy Spirit and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center each qualify as a Primary Stroke Center. This means each hospital has meets the qualifications of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission. This includes:

  • Having a dedicated stroke-focused program
  • Being staff by qualified medical professional trained in stroke care
  • Providing individual care to meet a stroke patient’s needs
  • Involving the patient in their hospital care
  • Coordinating post-discharge patient self-care based on the recommendations of the Brain Attack Coalition, guidelines from the AHA/ASA or equivalent guidelines
  • Collecting stroke-treatment performance data
  • Using the data to assess and continually improve quality of care for stroke patients
  • Streamlining the flow of patient information while protecting patient rights, security and privacy
  • The State of New Jersey has additional requirements for a Primary Stroke Center designation. Learn more here.

  • The latest stroke treatments: Every minute and every dose of medicine matters. We stay on top of all new medications and protocols for treating stroke. For ischemic stroke, we can quickly deliver the clot-busting drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Known as arrival-to-tPA time, this is the time between arriving at the hospital and receiving the FDA-approved drug. We routinely deliver it faster than the national average. We also offer:
  • Thrombectomy: This interventional procedure uses a stent or a suction to clear away a blood clot blocking the flow of blood to the brain.
  • Drug therapy for hemorrhages: We have medications that reverse the effects of blood thinners, as well as protocols to manage bleeding.
  • Treatments for aneurysm: Though they are not the same, stroke and brain aneurysm are often related. We offer both surgical clipping and an interventional procedure known as coiling. These are today’s most advanced (and most successful) treatments for brain aneurysms. Learn more about cerebrovascular surgery.
  • Experienced stroke team: Every stroke patient sees a neurologist with expertise in stroke care. The same attending doctor continues to see the patient, which provides better continuity of care during a hospital stay. Because the correct diagnostic imaging is essential to treat stroke, we have a neuroradiologist available to read scans 24/7.
  • Life Flight: We can transport high-risk stroke patients to Geisinger via Life Flight. We transport patients and deliver the tPA drug in flight. Our stroke team partners with emergency medicine providers, including EMS crews, to make sure stroke patients receive the best treatment from the initial evaluation of stroke symptoms through their transport to the hospital.
  • Collaboration with other specialties: We work closely with specialists in pediatrics, heart care, vascular care, oncology and maternal-fetal medicine. We want to reduce the frequency of stroke, and partner with these specialties to monitor and treat patients to prevent stroke. 

Specialties and institutes

Connect with other specialties at Geisinger to learn more about these treatments.

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