• Stroke Care

  • Stroke Care
      • Every minute counts when a person is experiencing a stroke, and acting fast can help increase the opportunity for effective stroke treatment. The most effective treatments for stroke are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours of its initial symptoms. Patients may not be eligible for stroke treatments if they arrive at the hospital after that three-hour window.

        That is why it is so important to act quickly. Use the following tool to help you recognize stroke symptoms and act F.A.S.T.

        • Face – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
        • Arms – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? 
        • Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can he or she repeat the sentence correctly? 
        • Time – If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is critical. Call 911 and get to the hospital fast.

        What is a stroke?

        A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can happen when a clot blocks the flow of blood through the blood vessels or when a vessel bursts.

        There are several different kinds of strokes:

        • Transient ischemic attack
        • Ischemia or blocked artery (embolic or thrombotic) 
        • Hemorrhagic stroke or burst blood vessel (intercerebral and subarachnoid aneurysms) 

        Since arteries and blood vessels supply blood to different parts of the brain, strokes may occur with a variety of symptoms.

        • Slurred speech or inappropriate words
        • Difficulty understanding others 
        • Numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body 
        • Blurred or impaired vision 
        • Facial droop 
        • Dizziness 
        • Loss of balance 
        • Decreased consciousness 
        • Severe headache

        It is important to keep in mind that not all symptoms are present in every instance of stroke. Any person who believes he or she may be experiencing a stroke should call 911 immediately. Emergency medical services responders understand the importance of time and work to rapidly transport stroke victims.

        Why choose Wellmont for stroke care?

        Stroke center certification

        Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center are regional leaders in stroke care. The Primary Stroke Center at Bristol Regional has also attained advanced certification by The Joint Commission. This means that its program:

        • Provides the next generation of stroke care
        • Has met and seeks to maintain The Joint Commission's high standards in providing stroke care


        When a stroke occurs, the experts at Wellmont Health System are ready to care for patients quickly. Speed and expertise are essential to save lives and help minimize the damage a stroke can cause.

        Through telemedicine capabilities at Bristol Regional, EEG brain wave strips can be received by phone, allowing stroke experts to begin diagnosing and considering treatment options before a patient arrives. Wellmont’s experienced physicians rely on several advanced diagnostic tools to evaluate strokes.

        • Carotid ultrasound 
        • TEE (transesophageal echogram) 
        • CT and CTA scans 
        • MRI and MRA imaging 
        • Angiography 

        Once a patient arrives, treatment can often begin immediately using the latest imaging technologies, stroke treatment protocols and medicines like TPA clot-busters to restore vital blood flow to the brain.

        Penumbra System for ischemic stroke

        Bristol Regional is the first hospital in the Tri-Cities region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia to offer the Penumbra System®, a clot retrieval device for patients who suffer from an acute stroke. Interventional radiologists use the Penumbra System to gently remove clots from the large vessels of the brain in an effort to restore blood flow and reduce the damage caused by the lack of oxygen during an ischemic stroke. The system may be used up to eight hours after stroke symptoms first appear, depending on the size and severity of the stroke and the accessibility of the clot.

        Clinical trials and stroke research

        At the forefront of research and national clinical trials, Wellmont is a regional innovator in the field of stroke prevention and treatment. Enrolling patients in clinical studies leads to breakthrough understanding and treatment options in stroke prevention, treatment, recovery and rehabilitation. We constantly review this collective body of knowledge, keeping stroke-care protocols and treatment methods current through:

        • Continuing education symposiums for physicians and nursing staff
        • Ongoing education for EMS personnel about the special care necessary for stroke victims 
        • Constant updates of stroke care standards to ensure the highest levels of care

        Wellmont adheres to strict National Institutes of Health guidelines regarding patient privacy and patient consent for all trials and research.

        Stroke recovery and rehabilitation

        With dedicated areas for stroke patients staffed by exceptional physicians, nurses and specialists, Wellmont offers a compassionate environment for recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke.

        Our approach includes inpatient and outpatient stroke treatment, with a continuity of care from stroke onset through rehabilitation. Physical therapists help patients increase their range of motion. Occupational therapists help regain the skills necessary for everyday activities. And speech therapists work to re-establish communication skills that may have been affected.

        Appalachian Regional Stroke Center Network

        The Appalachian Regional Stroke Center Network is a group of “stroke-ready” hospitals. Each member hospital follows treatment protocols based on the guidelines from several national organizations.

        The Primary Stroke Center at Bristol Regional, a founding member of the Appalachian Regional Stroke Center Network, has full neurological coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The professionals at the stroke center also provide their expertise to the member hospitals when a patient arrives with a stroke.

        This network of advanced care and expertise means patients in the Tri-Cities region – including the most rural areas of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia – can receive effective stroke care quickly.

      • Reduce your risk factors for stroke

        Because lifestyle significantly impacts a person's risk of having a stroke, many people can easily reduce their stroke risk factors by following some simple guidelines.

        • Keep your blood pressure under control.
        • Manage conditions such as irregular heartbeat.
        • Stop smoking, or don't start.
        • Practice moderation with alcohol consumption.
        • Control your cholesterol level.
        • Exercise daily.
        • Decrease sodium and fat in your diet.
        • Discuss any circulation issues with your doctor.
      • The Joint Commission Gold Seal

      • National Stroke Association Stroke Center Network Member Seal