Emergency stroke care in St. Petersburg, Florida

When you or a loved one is experiencing a stroke, it's important to act quickly. At Northside Hospital, we are available 24/7 to provide you with lifesaving care in your critical time of need.

If you think you are experiencing a stroke, call 911. To learn more about our stroke services, please call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (888) 598-9586.

Nationally recognized stroke hospital

We are dedicated to providing prompt, effective care to patients experiencing stroke symptoms promptly and effectively. Some of the unique ways in which we provide expert neurological care include:

  • We now offer a tele-stroke program, which allows us to diagnose and develop treatment plans quickly.
  • Our interventional neuroradiology program allows us to perform minimally invasive procedures to treat stroke.
  • We have a neuro-intensive care unit for our patients needing advanced, critical care.

Our commitment to excellent stroke care has received regional and national recognition, including:

  • Det Norske Veritas Germanischer Lloyd (DNV GL) Healthcare certified us as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • The American Health Care Association (AHCA) designated us a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • We were awarded the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus.

What is stroke?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in America.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain gets blocked or ruptures, and brain cells don't get the blood they need. When nerve cells are deprived of oxygen, they can no longer function and die within minutes. When nerve cells cease to function, the part of the body they control can no longer function either. Because dead brain cells cannot be replaced, the effects of stroke are often permanent.

What is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)?

TIA is a "warning stroke" that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery for a short time. The symptoms of a TIA are the same as those of a stroke, but they usually last only a few minutes.

About 15 percent of strokes are preceded by TIAs, so don't ignore a TIA. Call 911 or seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Stroke symptoms

It's important to learn how to recognize the signs of stroke, so that if they occur, you can think F.A.S.T.:

  • Face—When the person smiles, does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms—Does one arm drift downward when both arms are raised?
  • Speech—Is the person's speech slurred when asked to repeat a simple sentence?
  • Time—Call 911 immediately if the person shows any of these symptoms

Other symptoms include:

  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance/coordination or trouble walking

The sooner a patient arrives at the emergency room (ER) after stroke symptoms occur, the sooner treatment can be administered, lessening the chances of disability.

Stroke treatments

If a patient comes to our ER presenting stroke symptoms, the patient may be taken to our Neurointervention Suite, where we perform the following stroke treatments:

  • Intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA)—This drug is injected into the bloodstream to dissolve the blood clot causing the stroke.
  • Endovascular procedure—This procedure involves a catheter, which is put inside the blood vessel. Once it's placed, a physician can retrieve the clot from the brain or directly administer t-PA to the site of the stroke.

Stroke risk factors

Some people are more likely to experience stroke than others. People who are at high risk for stroke include:

  • Males
  • People 55 years old and older
  • People who are African American or Latino
  • People who have had a previous TIA or stroke
  • People with a family history of stroke

Although you can't control all of your risk factors for stroke, you can identify your manageable risk factors and take steps to improve them. Manageable risk factors include:

  • Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Smoking