Emergency treatment for stroke at the only Comprehensive Stroke Center in Manatee County

Blake Medical Center is proud to be the first and only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Manatee County. Our hospital has the personnel, infrastructure, and expertise to diagnose and treat stroke patients who require intensive medical and surgical care, specialized tests, or interventional therapies. As a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) we deliver the highest quality of care to the most complex cases offering evidence-based treatments with cutting edge research protocols.

CSCs can treat patients suffering hemorrhagic or large ischemic strokes with follow up care in an intensive care unit. Other stroke incidents include patients with suspected aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, those with strokes from unusual etiologies or requiring specialized testing or therapies such as endovascular surgery, and those requiring multispecialty management.

Our Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification from DNV GL Healthcare is based on standards set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association and affirms that the medical center addresses the full spectrum of stroke care - diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and education - and establishes clear metrics to evaluate outcomes.

A stroke is a serious medical emergency. Seek emergency medical care as quickly as possible after identifying stroke symptoms. The faster treatment is administered, the more brain cells can be spared, which can help minimize the long-term effects of a stroke.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately. For questions about our stroke care services, please call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (888) 359-3552.

Stroke treatment

It is ideal to administer medication or have surgical intervention within the first three hours of experiencing stroke symptoms. These actions can minimize the potential long-term effects of a stroke. Blake Medical Center offers some of the most comprehensive stroke care available in Manatee County, including treatments, such as:

  • Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) administration—For patients experiencing an ischemic stroke, the clot-busting drug tPA may be administered to break up the clot blocking blood flow.
  • Blood pressure medication—For patients experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke, initial treatment is focused on easing the pressure in the brain through blood pressure medications.
  • Acute stroke thrombectomy—This procedure, performed in our state-of-the-art neurointerventional laboratory, involves the surgical removal of a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to the brain.

Multidisciplinary, coordinated care

The stroke team at our hospital offers rapid, coordinated stroke treatment by implementing the following:

  • Communication with local emergency medical services (EMS)—Before a patient even arrives at our hospital, the stroke team has been in contact with local EMS and a "stroke alert" has been called. This helps emergency physicians prepare for expedited treatment before a patient arrives at the hospital.
  • Dedicated "stroke alert" team—When a "stroke alert" is called, a team of highly skilled medical professionals will assemble to provide immediate care. The team includes emergency physicians, surgeons, neurologists, nurses, therapists, laboratory staff, pharmacists and radiologists.
  • Expedited imaging services—When a patient arrives at the hospital, they can receive a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) within 45 minutes of admittance. The team quickly analyzes imaging results with the help of our medical laboratory, which is open 24/7.
  • Acute, inpatient hospital care—We provide continued, intensive care in our hospital for patients following initial stroke treatment. The goal is to facilitate a faster return to normal life for patients.
  • Stroke rehabilitation—The rehabilitation process begins immediately after discharge from the hospital. The goal of stroke rehabilitation is to improve long-term outcomes and decrease stroke-related cognitive complications.

Dedicated stroke unit

Patients recovering from a stroke receive care in a dedicated area of our hospital. The stroke unit provides individualized care and is staffed by the following healthcare professionals:

  • Highly skilled physicians
  • Specially trained nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Case management professionals

Types of stroke

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic.

An ischemic stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted by a blockage, such as a blood clot. A blood clot may form directly in the artery supplying the brain, or it may travel from another part of the body.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts. The damaged blood vessel may cause symptoms such as uncontrolled high blood pressure and weakened or tangled blood vessels.

The longer the brain goes without proper blood flow, the more damage can occur. This is why it is critical to seek immediate medical care when stroke symptoms are present.

Stroke symptoms

Stroke symptoms often appear suddenly. Be prepared to seek emergency care if you notice the following signs:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble talking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Stroke risk factors

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a person's risk of experiencing a stroke. Some of these are controllable through lifestyle modification, but others are not, such as certain hereditary conditions. Risk factors may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Diagnosed diabetes
  • Diagnosed carotid artery disease
  • Diagnoses atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • History of transient ischemic strokes (TIAs), also known as "mini strokes"
  • High red blood cell count
  • Diagnosed sickle cell anemia
  • High cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Use of certain illegal drugs

Stroke can occur as a result of afib when the irregular beatings in the heart prevent blood from being completely pumped out of the atria. This can result in blood pooling or clotting in the atria. When a blood clot moves to an artery in the brain, a stroke occurs.

Stroke risk profiler

Take this short survey to evaluate your risk factors for experiencing a stroke.

There are many factors that increase risk of stroke. Some are controllable, but others are genetic and can only be counter-acted with effort by you, and in collaboration with your physician. Take this brief survey to see how your stroke risk adds up.

Please select Yes or No for each question!

# Factor Answer
1. Age
2. Blood pressure
3. Cholesterol
4. Diet
5. Exercise
6. Smoking
7. Oral contraceptives
8. Drug or alcohol use
9. Diabetes
10. Atrial fibrillation
11. Cardiovascular disease
12. Prior heart attack,
stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack)
13. I have stroke in my family
14. Clotting disorders
15. Migraines
16. Over 65

Your Score is:

  • If your score is 0 - 3, great news! You’re doing well at controlling your risk for stroke. Remember, though, that a single “High Risk” factor can put you at two times higher risk for stroke. Regular visits to your healthcare provider are important to identify health considerations unique to you.
  • If your score is 4 - 13, your overall risk is moderate. An answer of “I don’t know” is a yellow flag. Finding out can mean the difference between optimal health and a potential red flag. Minor changes in your controllable risk factors, plus regular healthcare checkups, can put you on the right path.
  • If your score is 14 or more, your overall risk of stroke is relatively high. Any one of these risk factors is a red flag. Make an appointment with your doctor soon to discuss stroke prevention.

If you do not currently have a primary care provider, click here to find a physician.

As many as 80% of strokes are preventable.

Risk factors are cumulative, so reducing even one will lower your overall risk of having a stroke.

Stroke support group

We make sure patients receive the support they need when recovering from a stroke. Research has shown social interaction and connection can help ease the depression and isolation many patients feel when recovering from a stroke.

At Blake Medical Center, our stroke support group meets every other Wednesday from 4:00pm to 5:00pm For more information please call (941) 798-6505.

Register for stroke support group