Our Stroke Center is recognized as a leader in the treatment and prevention of stroke. We focus on compassion, convenience, and comfort for the patient while delivering advanced treatments (including neurointerventional surgery).
Showing signs of a stroke? Call 9-1-1.
What Is a Stroke?
- A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells in the immediate area to die because they stop getting oxygen.
- A stroke can also occur when a vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain.
- One way to remember if you or someone you are with is having a stroke, is to “Think BEFAST.”
What is BEFAST?
- It’s what you do when you spot the signs of a stroke: BE FAST in getting the victim to emergency medical care.
- It holds the key to recognizing someone may be having a stroke. Just remember these BEFAST words:
- Time, not a symptom but a reminder to get medical help quickly
You may not see all the symptoms at the time of a stroke. The key to noticing something’s amiss is the sudden onset of symptoms like these:
Balance–sudden loss of balance
A stroke is caused by blood not flowing to portions of the brain. As parts of the brain shut down, muscle control and other senses are affected. Loss of balance could vary from that head-spinning feeling of just stepping off a merry-go-round to having one leg kicked out from a three-legged stool. Depending on when you encounter someone having a brain attack, they may be in the stage of feeling dizzy, grabbing at the air for something to steady themselves, or already crumpled in a heap.
A stroke may affect the nerves that control facial expressions. Frequently only one side of the face is affected and the result is an uneven look—a drooping of the eyes, mouth, and cheeks.
Speech–slurred or seeming confused
When the brain’s speech center is under attack the results are going to be confusion, problems enunciating words, incomplete thoughts, or bizarre and random associations. Other diseases or injuries can cause similar patterns, but the key to a brain attack is a sudden onset of these symptoms.
Time–call 9-1-1 now
Brain attacks happen with all degrees of severity and there’s rarely a gold-standard where all the symptoms are in play and easily recognized. If you’re seeing any of the BEFAST signs with that underlying theme of suddenness, make the call.
BE FAST was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. © 2011 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved.
What Happens After a Stroke?
1. Emergency Room (ER)
- Medication for acute effects
2. Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- Ongoing treatment and follow-up
About Our Center
- The UI Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) is a leader in both developing and conducting trials that test promising therapies for the prevention, treatment, and recovery of stroke.
- Researchers at the CSC have been at the forefront of translational and clinical research in cerebrovascular disease since the Cooperative Aneurysm study in the 1960s.
- The first dedicated stroke unit in the country was developed at our institution in the 1970s.
- In the 1980s our institution held Master Agreements in Stroke with NINDS.
- As part of this program, we have designed and directed Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III trials testing promising treatments for acute ischemic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
- An important accomplishment was the creation of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), which was developed and tested by the NIH and investigators in Cincinnati and Iowa City.
- It is now the standard clinical assessment tool for determining the severity of neurological impairments with stroke and part of many clinical trials.
- Another accomplishment was the TOAST study (Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment).
- TOAST was the first modern, Phase III trial of acute stroke treatment funded by an NINDS grant, which demonstrated the lack of effectiveness of anticoagulation in patients with acute ischemic stroke.
- The study also resulted in the creation of the TOAST classification of stroke subtype, which remains the primary system in use to categorize stroke mechanisms in trials, as well as in practice nationally and internationally.
The Stroke Center at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics recently achieved Advanced Certification Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Comprehensive Stroke Center certification is given when centers meet the following criteria:
- Coordinate post-hospital care for patients
- Have dedicated and staffed neuro-intensive care unit beds for complex stroke patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Meet minimum requirements for providing care to patients with a stroke diagnosis
- Participate in stroke research
- Use advanced imaging capabilities
- Use a peer review process to evaluate and monitor the care provided to patients with ischemic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage
The following are clinical trials the Stroke Center is currently conducting. Get more information and/or apply by following the links:
- CLEAR III Trial
- Clot Lysis: Evaluating Accelerated Resolution of Intraventricular Hemorrhage Phase III
- Intracerebral Hemorrhage Deferoxamine Trial
- MR WITNESS
- A Study of Intravenous Thrombolysis With Alteplase in MRI-Selected Patients
- POINT Trial
- Platelet-Oriented Inhibition in New TIA and Minor Ischemic Stroke (POINT) Trial
- Stroke Hyperglycemia Insulin Network Effort Trial
Our Care Team
- Angela Lewis, RN
- Heena Olalde, RN
- Erin Rindels, RN
- Jeri Sieren, RN
Related Health Topics
The University of Iowa Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) hosts a monthly support group for stroke survivors and their caregivers. No reason to register, just join us!
These meetings are being held in person with Zoom capabilities. Please reach out to the group for more information.
A Cognitive Enhancement Program
Participants with cognitive impairment will be introduced to techniques and strategies to help with memory, attention, executive functioning, sleep difficulties, and more. Education will be provided regarding the cognitive effects of aging, dementia, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), sleep problems, and more.
Patients and adult family members/caregivers are welcome to attend.