A stroke doctor consults with patients.

Stroke Program

2069.2 miles away
509-474-3131
24 hours a day; 7 days a week

Stroke Program

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center
24 hours a day; 7 days a week

Every stroke is a medical emergency, even if symptoms go away quickly. If you know the warning signs and call 911 right away, you can help save lives and prevent or limit brain damage.

The nationally-recognized stroke team at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center provides rapid, high-level diagnosis and care at any hour. As a Primary Stroke Center, we’re certified by national leaders for meeting advanced standards of stroke care. The center is part of the Providence Neuroscience Center, a comprehensive, integrated neuroscience program that treats conditions of the brain and spine.

Our neurosurgeons and other specialists apply the latest expertise, technology and teamwork. Stroke can cause troubling symptoms, but with brain-savvy specialists on your side, you’re in good and capable hands.

Just call for help, and you’re assured of fast and thorough treatment, including intensive care and neurorehabilitation, if needed.

Conditions we treat

We treat these and other neurological conditions:

  • Aneurysm
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Cerebral blood vessel abnormalities
  • Cerebral vasospasm
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack
Treatments and services

At Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, our specialists provide complete care, from diagnosis through stroke rehabilitation. We routinely achieve exceptional stroke outcomes as noted in publicly reported data.

We also reach out throughout the year to educate communities about what to know and do when every minute matters.

Our stroke services include:

Emergency care

The emergency care leaders at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center work with community EMS and the Northwest MedStar air ambulance team to provide rapid transport, emergency assessment and intervention.

When strokes happen, every minute counts. Tissues in your body require a steady supply of oxygen from your blood. If blood supply is blocked, it’s critical to get prompt treatment to avoid serious brain injury.

Call 911 right away if you see symptoms of stroke. For the best outcome, treatment must begin:

  • Within three hours of when stroke symptoms started for IV clot-busting therapy to be effective
  • Within six hours of when stroke symptoms started for intra-arterial therapy (within arteries) to be effective

Emergency medical therapies include:

  • Thrombolytic therapy. You may receive tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) clot-busting medication for a stroke caused by a blocked artery in your brain. Specialists give the drug intravenously during the first three hours after the stroke to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow, which significantly improves your chance of recovery.
  • Intravenous Heparin. If you can’t take tPA, early treatment often involves getting heparin via IV to reduce the risk of a stroke becoming worse or a second stroke occurring.
Diagnostic imaging

Doctors do tests to determine the type of stroke you’ve had before they begin more specific treatment. Providence doctors assess your stroke risk or identify the type and impact of a stroke using these and other technologies:

  • Carotid artery duplex Doppler and color flow Doppler
  • Cerebral angiography
  • CT scans, including dynamic infusion and rapid spiral scans
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
  • MRI
  • Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) radionuclide scanning
  • Transcranial Doppler
Laboratory

Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center’s lab is nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and clinical expertise. We provide fast turnaround for stroke testing, including these and other services:

  • Complete hematologic, coagulation and stat stroke panels
  • Lipid evaluation, which identifies stroke-related lipid disorders
Neurology services

Neurologists are an integral part of the stroke team, working with your doctor and guiding care, from emergency services through hospitalization and rehabilitation. Neurological services may include diagnosis and therapies such as:

  • Anticoagulation therapies
  • Intravenous or intra-arterial thrombolysis (clot dissolving medication) throm angioplasty
  • Neuroprotective medications
Interventional neuroradiology

Specially trained neuroradiologists work closely with neurologists and neurosurgeons who specialize in stroke. If you have a stroke, our doctors evaluate and treat you using sophisticated minimally invasive, image-guided therapies, including:

  • Cerebral angioplasty; balloon expansion of arteries in spasm after brain bleeding
  • Endovascular stenting; bypasses narrow or blocked vessels without brain surgery
  • GDC coils; closes off aneurysms without surgery
  • Intra-arterial thrombolysis; catheter-delivered clot-dissolving medication
  • Intraoperative angiography; real-time feedback while treating an aneurysm or AVM
Medical therapies

General medical treatment varies according to the cause of the stroke and the amount of time that has passed since your symptoms began and your overall health and condition.

Your stroke team will address these and other important health issues:

  • Aspiration prevention
  • Blood pressure control
  • Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the legs) prevention
  • Fluid administration
  • Glucose (blood sugar) control
  • Hyperthermia (fever control)
  • Nutrition maintenance
Surgical services

Providence cerebrovascular neurosurgeons use innovative surgical techniques to treat stroke, including:

  • Aneurysm clipping and reconstruction Brain mapping to protect speech and other functions during AVM treatment Cerebral revascularization to restore and re-route blood flow during aneurysm treatment Stereotactic radiosurgery to non-invasively treat AVMs

You may require surgery to treat these or other conditions:

  • Carotid artery stenosis. If blood flow throughout the carotid artery in your neck is reduced 60 percent or more, doctors may advise surgery to remove plaque and restore blood flow.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke. Surgeons repair the damaged blood vessel and place a temporary drainage catheter within your brain to reduce pressure.
  • Additional arterial procedures. Doctors may treat arteries within your brain surgically or with angioplasty and stenting to enlarge blocked blood arteries and improve blood flow.
Stroke rehabilitation

Our stroke rehabilitation specialists understand how challenging the recovery process can be. We guide you, encourage you and offer opportunities for you and your loved ones to work together throughout rehabilitation.

After a stroke, the degree of disability depends on the size and location of your stroke. Studies show that most people have better long-term outcomes if inpatient rehabilitation begins within hours after stroke symptoms begin.

Most of the improvement after a stroke occurs within three to six months of rehabilitation. Most people make continued but slower improvement after that.

At the Providence Neuroscience Center, specialists offer intensive therapy designed just for you. Your therapy team includes speech pathologists, dietitians, physical therapists, nurses, case managers and physiatrists.

We coordinate outpatient rehabilitation with St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute or with local therapists in your home community. Our specialists develop a customized care plan for you. You can also find a helping hand through our support groups, educational services and individual counseling.

Once you return home, rehabilitation therapies continue through outpatient therapy programs.

Your neurological care is in the hands of dedicated doctors on the leading edge of stroke science and clinical care.

At Providence Sacred Heart Medical Research Center, we’re committed to being a leader in applying neuroscience to improved clinical therapies. Clinical research studies are ongoing to investigate treatment methods that prevent nervous system and cardiovascular damage.

Drug trials including studies of neuroprotective agents and other neurologic research projects that may help limit the devastating and often deadly results of stroke.

We know that the faster you’re diagnosed and treated, the better outcomes you can have. That’s why we’ve joined with local care providers to bring Providence world-class stroke care to rural communities when time matters most.

Through a partnership with rural hospitals, Providence provides around-the-clock access to acute stroke experts on a secure Internet connection. Using a mobile two-way communication system, our skilled stroke neurologists are available to help evaluate and consult on diagnosis, treatment or transfer to a different location if needed.

Your local care team has immediate access to the latest advancements in stroke care. Our Telestroke services include:

  • 24-hour access to fellowship-trained stroke neurologists
  • Expert service from initial evaluation through follow-up
  • A full-time dedicated team led by an experienced Telestroke neurologist and nurse coordinator
  • Continued training and education, including CME and CEU professional credit opportunities, for doctors, nurses and staff
  • Partnership to develop your local stroke care services
  • Support and tools to enhance quality and stroke patient outcomes

Our specialists work with your doctor to find the best routes of care for you and your family. We strive to keep treatments, rehabilitation and other care within your local community.

Our stroke program

Providence Stroke Program offers exceptional stroke care, education and research. The program is part of the Providence Neuroscience Center, which offers complete care for conditions of the brain and spine.

Doctors and surgeons from a variety of medical specialties work with referring doctors to design treatment and rehabilitation plans focused on your unique needs. Among our doctors are trained specialists, leading researchers and experts in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques.

Contact us

Providence Spokane Neuroscience Center
101 W 8th Ave
Spokane, WA 99204
509-474-4567

Acute stroke or transfer line: 877-323-5055

The following information and resources could save your life or the life of someone close to you.

Understanding stroke

A stroke stops blood supply to part of your brain. If the interruption lasts less than a day, it’s called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA.

If you have a TIA, you have a 25% chance of having a heart attack or stroke within 90 days, and your risk of having a stroke is 10 times higher. It’s very important to get medical help right away.

There are two types of stroke:

  1. Ischemic stroke: clotting within a blood vessel (over 80% of strokes)
  2. Hemorrhagic stroke: brain bleeding

To learn more about stroke, visit the American Stroke Association’s website.

Preventing stroke

Regular checkups, exercise, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle – including knowing and managing risk factors – can help prevent or limit the damage of a stroke. To prevent or limit the damage of stroke, call 911 if you see symptoms of stroke.

Symptoms of stroke start suddenly and include:

  • Confusion or difficulty understanding others
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Weakness or numbness in your face, arm or leg, often on just one side

Risk factors for stroke include:

  • Age; stroke risk rises after age 65
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of stroke
  • Gender; men have a higher incidence of stroke
  • High blood pressure (diastolic blood pressure > 90)
  • Prior stroke or TIA
  • Race; African-Americans have a higher incidence of stroke
  • Smoking
  • Vascular disease, especially carotid bruit (narrowing of artery carrying blood to the brain)

Stroke is a symptom of vascular or blood vessel disease. Most strokes are due to a build-up of plaque in your blood vessels. To reduce plaque build-up:

  • Exercise
  • If you are diabetic, control blood glucose levels
  • If you smoke, quit
  • Manage cholesterol levels
  • Manage weight
  • Monitor blood pressure regularly and treat high blood pressure

You may see these and other specialists during your diagnosis and treatment for stroke:

  • Case managers
  • Chaplains
  • Hospitalists
  • Intensivists
  • Interventional neuroradiologists
  • Neurologists
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Occupational therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiatrists
  • Physical therapists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Registered nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
  • Speech pathologists

We have received the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission – a nationally recognized independent health care review organization.

Year after year, our program earns the American Heart Association’s “Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus-Gold.” This honor recognizes hospitals that promptly treat stroke patients with clot-busting medication within certain time periods and according to other standard-of-care and quality-control guidelines.