Most strokes occur when the blood supply to a part of the brain is shut off or reduced, causing brain cells to die as they are starved of oxygen. These are called ischemic strokes, which account for about 80 percent of stroke cases. Ischemic strokes usually are caused by blockage of an artery in the brain from a blood clot. If the patient is brought to the hospital within several hours after symptoms begin, ischemic strokes usually can be effectively treated, either with medicine to dissolve the blood clot or by removing the clot with a thin tube called a catheter, or both.
Roughly 20% of strokes result from bleeding in the brain, known as hemorrhagic strokes. This bleeding usually is caused by high blood pressure, age, or ruptured or abnormal blood vessels in the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke patients usually need intensive care, and they also may need surgery to remove the clot or repair the blood vessel. Stroke can cause the loss of some or all functions controlled by the part of the brain that is damaged. Speech, movement, and memory are the functions most commonly affected by stroke, but the severity depends on which part of the brain was affected and how much damage occurred before receiving treatment. Recognizing stroke symptoms and seeking medical care immediately are crucial factors in preventing death and disability. Click here to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke.
UAB was the first hospital in Alabama to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission, a nonprofit national health care accreditation agency. This elite designation recognizes hospitals that maintain the staff, training, and technology to treat patients with the most complex strokes, at any time of day or night. We handle more than 1,800 stroke cases annually, the most serious of them within our dedicated Neurointensive Care Unit and Stroke Unit. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UAB Neurology and Neurosurgery among the top programs of their kind in the nation.
Stroke care at UAB is delivered by a large team of expert stroke physicians who are on duty 24/7. UAB has more board-certified vascular neurologists, neurointensivists, endovascular neurosurgeons, and vascular neurosurgeons than any other hospital in Alabama, along with 350 nurses with stroke-specific training. Our 36-bed Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit is among the largest in the United States. Because UAB is a major center for stroke research, patients may be eligible to participate in clinical studies of promising new treatments for stroke, so they could receive therapies not available at most other medical centers.
When a stroke patient arrives at the UAB Hospital Emergency Department, a “Code Stroke” is activated, triggering a rapid response team that evaluates the patient to ensure that the most appropriate care is provided in the shortest time possible. Our range of advanced treatments includes acute therapies such as the clot-busting medication Alteplase (tPA), along with catheter-based procedures such as thrombectomy, aspiration, and stenting. The extensive resources and technologies of our neurovascular stroke service are not available at other hospitals in the area.
After admission and initial management, stroke patients are further evaluated in our dedicated Stroke Unit, which is staffed by nurses, physicians, and rehabilitation therapists who specialize in stroke. Every patient undergoes a thorough, individualized diagnostic workup with advanced imaging technologies to determine the underlying cause of the stroke.
When it’s time to begin the recovery process, UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center provides comprehensive rehabilitation programs that are customized to each patient. UAB created a Stroke Recovery Clinic (SRC) to help stroke survivors recover more effectively, with fewer long-term effects. One of only a few clinics of its type in the country, the SRC combines speech, occupational, and physical therapy with neuropsychology care and social work services.
UAB strives to provide the highest quality evidence-based stroke care to our community. The information listed in this report provides data on key performance measures that reflect our commitment to excellent care.
How is a Stroke Treated?
How is a Stroke Diagnosed?
What is a Stroke?
Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke
Surviving a Stroke
Pastor Bill Elder, struck down by a stroke as he prepared for his Christmas Eve sermon, he wasn't sure he'd ever return to his pulpit at Mountaintop Community Church in Birmingham. The stroke caused severe damage to Elder's normal ways of thinking and ability to perform even the simplest of activities. A normal life seemed far, far away. Only through weeks of therapy at UAB's Spain Rehabilitation Center, was he able to learn again how to think, move, and enjoy the possibilities of the future.
47-year-old Angela Heinkel was the picture of perfect health, a busy and active mother of 11 children who went running every day. So it was a shock when she suffered a stroke after finishing one of her regular runs. Thankfully, Angela survived and began the road to recovery, which included relearning how to walk and talk. Angela's dedication to her rehab, with the help of the specialists at Spain Rehabilitation Center, has made simple daily tasks like speaking and eating a reality again.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials