Stroke care on Florida's Treasure Coast

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center boasts the area’s first and only stroke center recognized as both a Primary Stroke Center and a Comprehensive Stroke Center. We treat all types of strokes, provide immediate complex neurovascular procedures around the clock and have a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit (ICU) and staff trained specifically in stroke care.

We also connect patients with community resources and host support groups to help stroke survivors enjoy the highest quality of life possible.

For more information about stroke prevention, recovery and therapy, call our Consult-A-Nurse® team at (772) 742-9050.

Comprehensive Stroke Center in St. Lucie County

We’ve earned a certification from The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center and a designation from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. These recognitions mean that residents in the area who experience a stroke have access to some of the best stroke treatments available in the country.

In addition, our stroke center (which sees five to eight “stroke alert” patients daily) is one of only a handful of stroke centers in the U.S. with a pediatric service. Although it’s rare, children as young as 3 years old can have strokes and need even more specialized care than adults.

We also employ occupational therapists and physical therapists trained to help stroke patients. Every clinician can recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Moreover, to ensure continuous improvement to their response and treatment protocols, our doctors review every stroke case together.

Dedicated neuroscience ICU

Our stroke center includes a 24-bed neuroscience ICU with special equipment, including a computed tomography (CT) scan machine and an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine that continuously monitors your brain waves. At our neuroscience ICU, medical professionals trained specifically in stroke treatment care for stroke patients and people with other neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injuries.

Stroke symptoms

A stroke is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Symptoms vary depending on which part of the brain is affected. This is why stroke symptoms may occur on only one side of the body.

Learn the signs of a stroke and act fast when they occur to prevent death and disability. Common stroke symptoms include sudden:

  • Numbness, weakness or paralysis of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes (blurred, blackened or double vision)
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause (may be accompanied by pain in the face or stiffness in the neck)

In the event of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a “mini stroke,” stroke-like symptoms may occur for a few minutes or for 24 hours. Patients who have a TIA are more likely to suffer a full-blown stroke.

Strokes are preventable. Always pay attention to any symptoms you experience, and take action to control your risk factors.

What to do if someone has a stroke

If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, don’t give them aspirin. If bleeding caused your stroke, aspirin can create additional bleeding and make diagnosing the cause of the stroke more difficult. Also, don’t drive to the hospital—call 911 immediately. Driving to the nearest hospital may not be ideal, as it could result in delayed treatment if you must later be transported to our stroke center.

Keep the person safe and comfortable until help arrives. Don’t allow them to drink or eat anything. If the person stops breathing, administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If they vomit, turn their head to the side to prevent choking.

Stroke treatment

Our team uses a streamlined treatment protocol that begins before patients arrive. Each team member receives a text or page alert that a patient is on the way. A neurointerventionalist and an emergency room physician meet the patient at the entrance. Our doctors then conduct a mobile evaluation while we transport the patient to our computed tomography (CT) scanner, which is kept on standby for the patient’s arrival.

Medication to treat stroke

Following your CT scan, we’ll make a decision about the best way to treat your stroke. If there’s no bleeding in the brain, we’ll administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)—the “clot-busting” drug. If your stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain instead of by a clot, tPA isn’t a treatment option.

Endovascular surgery

You may need surgery following a stroke. We can perform catheter-directed thrombolysis to remove a clot from the brain and reestablish blood flow. If you need surgery, we’ll operate immediately.

Stroke support groups

We’ve partnered with other community resources, including the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, to provide inpatient and outpatient support groups. These groups are designed to educate people about the signs and symptoms of a stroke or TIA and to reiterate the importance of calling for emergency services when needed.

In addition, support groups teach survivors and caregivers about other community resources and the coping mechanisms needed to work toward optimal health.

Lawnwood's Stroke Support Group meets the third Friday of every month in the cafeteria private dining room from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. This gathering is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided. To attend, RSVP by calling (772) 742-9050.