Stroke Care - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Stroke Care

Crozer-Keystone Health System’s multidisciplinary stroke teams are dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients who suffer stroke.

Stroke is the loss or alteration of bodily function that results from an insufficient supply of blood to the brain. It can occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot or another particle. Without oxygen, nerve cells in the affected area of the brain cannot function and die within minutes.

Stroke Symptoms

Signs of stroke include the following:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden trouble walking or dizziness
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

How to Tell If Someone Is Having a Stroke and What to Do

According to the American Stroke Association, bystanders with or without medical training may be able to spot someone having a stroke by performing a quick, simple assessment. Using the anagram F.A.S.T., the evaluation includes the following tests:

  • Facial weakness. Ask the person to smile. Take a look to see if his or her mouth or eyelids have drooped.
  • Arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms.
  • Speech problems. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can the person speak clearly? Can he or she understand what you are saying?
  • Test all three symptoms. If the person fails any of the tests, call 911 immediately.

Treatment of Stroke

Speed is the single most important factor in stroke treatment. When a patient with stroke symptoms arrives at the emergency departments of either Crozer, DCMH or Taylor, our multidisciplinary teams go into immediate action. It only takes a few minutes for a stroke to damage brain cells, and quick action with drugs or other therapies can help to reduce damage to the brain.

The Joint Commission designated Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital and Taylor Hospital as Certified Primary Stroke Centers for its proven, fast stroke care. This means patients who come to Crozer, DCMH or Taylor presenting with a possible stroke have a better chance for a favorable outcome and a lower risk of complications.

Emergency Treatment

Primary stroke centers are required to diagnose a possible stroke patient quickly. Crozer-Keystone Health System's stroke teams and neurological services are available around the clock to respond at a moment's notice. CT scans and lab work are completed and evaluated within 45 minutes of a patient's arrival at the Emergency Department.

Critical Care

Crozer-Keystone Health System's four Emergency Medical Services (EMS) departments serve more than 20 municipalities with 24/7 emergency services. Our EMS teams have been providing compassionate emergency care to the people of southeastern Delaware County for more than 30 years. All of our medics are highly trained and qualified, holding certifications in Basic Cardiac Life Support (CPR), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS). Learn more about Crozer-Keystone's EMS teams.

Our Stroke Coordinator

Crozer-Keystone Health System's Stroke Coordinator plays a key role in providing support and education to stroke patients and their families. In addition, our stroke coordinator educates the community about the risks and treatment of stroke, as well as steps that they can take to prevent a stroke. Suzanne Hefton is Stroke Coordinator for Crozer-Keystone Health System and can be reached at either 610-595-5988 or 610-284-8780.

Stroke Support Groups

Register for a Free Stroke Support Group: See Dates, Times

Delaware County Memorial Hospital and Taylor Hospital offer Stroke Support Groups to provide information and a sense of community to those who have suffered from stroke, as well as their family members. Topics vary, but may include emotional support, nutrition, secondary stroke prevention, communication, rehabilitation, community resources, medication and caregiver support. Tips, tools and facts are provided to help people cope with post-stroke changes. The group is offered free of charge as a service to the community. Find out the dates/times of the support groups at DCMH and Taylor Hospital on our Calendar page or by downloading our schedule [PDF].

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major risk factors for stroke?

The major risk factors for stroke are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity

Additional factors include having had a prior stroke, carotid artery disease, heart disease, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), and high red blood cell count. Excessive alcohol intake, certain kinds of drug abuse, season, climate and socioeconomic factors can also contribute to stroke. African Americans have a much greater risk of disability and death from stroke than Caucasians because of a greater incidence of high blood pressure.

What is the connection between blood pressure and stroke?

According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure (HBP) damages arteries so they burst or clog more easily. HBP can damage arteries throughout the body. Weakened arteries in the brain put you at much higher risk for a stroke. It's important to know whether or not you have HBP and what you can do to control it. Learn more about the connection between HBP and stroke. »

Are men or women more likely to have a stroke?

The latest data show that, overall, the incidence and prevalence of stroke are about equal for men and women.

However, at all ages, more women than men die of stroke.

Doesn’t breast cancer affect more women than stroke?

Actually, the numbers are shocking.

One in two women will eventually die of heart disease or stroke, compared with one in 30 who will eventually die of breast cancer.

How can I lower the risk of having a stroke?

  • Quit smoking
  • Cut back on foods that are high in fat and cholesterol
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Check blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain an appropriate weight

Does aspirin help?

Researchers have found great benefits from aspirin. The American Academy of Neurology recently released results from a study indicating that taking aspirin within 48 hours of stroke can reduce death rates and negative side effects of stroke.

Research has also shown that aspirin may help protect people from stroke. People are strongly encouraged to talk to their physician before beginning aspirin therapy, however, as aspirin may also increase the risk of another type of stroke (hemorrhagic) caused by bleeding in and around the brain. (Heart Center Online)

Sources: American Stroke Association, American Heart Association, Heart Center Online)