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Stroke Care

Dameron Hospital is a certified stroke center, and along with Stanford Medicine, we provide some of the most advanced life-saving care obtainable in our community and the Central Valley. Our highly trained staff and partnership with Stanford is available to offer our stroke patients a wide range of leading-edge treatments based on their condition.

From the moment you arrive at the emergency room to the day you complete your rehabilitation, our team of caregivers supports you every step of the way. Emergency physicians and nurses work quickly to diagnose and begin your care.

Rapid Response for stroke – CODE NEURO

Our multidisciplinary stroke team of board-certified physicians, accredited nurses and other experts are available to you 24/7. These highly talented individuals are trained and experienced at working together and know the importance of acting F.A.S.T.

Dameron’s rapid response process to identify and treat patients experiencing a stroke is referred to as a “CODE NEURO,” which begins with an overhead page that triggers a rapid team intervention for patients in our Emergency Department or for inpatients with new-onset stroke symptoms. When a Code Neuro is announced, a multidisciplinary team of nurses, physicians, phlebotomists, and nursing leadership immediately responds to the code to rapidly assess the situation.

Partnering with Stanford Medicine

Partnering with the Stanford Stroke Center, Dameron is the only hospital in San Joaquin County and the Central Valley that offers our patients state-of-the-art stroke care from one of the national leaders in advance stroke treatment.

Based on a patient’s initial evaluation and diagnostic imaging results, one of Dameron’s attending physicians or hospitalists collaborates remotely with the Stanford Stroke Center Team on stroke treatment options. Patients experiencing ischemic strokes, which occur as a result of a blockage in a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain, may intravenously receive tPA at Dameron, or tissue plasminogen Activator which is the main clot-dissolving medication for strokes.

However, if it looks like a patient needs to be transferred for more advanced treatment, an innovative and streamlined protocol developed by Stanford called the SIRS (Stroke Interventional Radiology Service) Rapid Access Program is used to ensure rapid acceptance to the Stanford Stroke Center.

Once the patient’s criteria are met, they are immediately transported via air ambulance to the Stanford Stroke Center for further evaluation and endovascular therapy, which is the physical removal of the blockage using a catheter-based approach. For hemorrhagic stroke, which is bleeding caused by a burst brain aneurysm or a weakened blood vessel leak, the patient’s treatment will depend on the severity and location of the bleed. The vast majority of strokes are ischemic.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Stroke

There are two main types of stroke. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, it is called an ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs if a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into or around the brain. Even so-called "mini-strokes," or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) should be treated as medical emergencies because they increase the risk of major stroke.

Patients brought to Dameron Hospital with stroke symptoms are evaluated in our Emergency Department. Evaluation for stroke includes:

  • CT scan of the brain
  • Blood work
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG

Patients who are diagnosed with an ischemic stroke, and whose stroke symptoms began within the previous 3 hours, are given a clot-dissolving drug (t-PA) to help restore blood flow to the brain.

Patients diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke may be taken to the interventional radiology suite for surgical or non-surgical treatment or be transported via air ambulance to the Stanford Stroke Center for further evaluation and therapy.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke – BE F.A.S.T!

The National Stroke Association uses the following information to help people act quickly in recognizing symptoms and getting help. It is recommended to act “F.A.S.T.”

F – Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A – Arm
: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – Speech
: Does simple speech sound slurred or strange?

T – Time
: If you observe any of these signs, then it’s time to call 9-1-1.

Stroke Risk Factors

Some risk factors are treatable by medications and special diets. Talk to your primary care doctor about ways you can reduce your risk of stroke if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Circulation problems
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Preventing a Stroke

Prevention is the best defense against stroke, and up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. A stroke can happen to anyone at any time and any age. Here are a few ways to help prevent stroke:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a balance of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and low-fat dairy
  • Exercise for 30 minutes five times a week by walking, biking, etc.
  • Stop smoking (smoking doubles your risk of stroke)
  • Drink alcohol in moderation – 2 drinks/day (men); 1 drink/day (women)