The Stroke Center
Stroke, also known as “brain attack,” is a
medical emergency requiring swift transportation to the nearest medical center
and immediate medical treatment by the stroke team.
If you or a loved one comes to Cayuga Medical Center
with signs of a stroke, you can take comfort in knowing that your medical
center is a designated Stroke Center. This means that we meet the high
standards of diagnosis and treatment prescribed by the American Stroke
Association and the New York State Department of Health. You will find yourself
instantly at the center of a multidisciplinary group of emergency physicians
and nurses, neurologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, intensivists, and
rehabilitation specialists who are available to respond 24/7 in the Emergency
Department for the evaluation and treatment of stroke patients.
To learn more about stroke, just click on the links below.
advantages of a designated Stroke Center
of stroke and diagnostic imaging
to recognize a stroke
factors for stroke you can change with your doctor’s help
Center medical director
● National Stroke Association
The advantages of
a designated Stroke Center.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this
country and the leading cause of disability: of those who survive, 90 percent
have a neurological deficit. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that
patients treated at hospitals with Stroke Centers have reduced mortality rates,
fewer complications, improved long-term outcomes, and increased patient
A Code Grey at Cayuga Medical Center calls the stroke
response team into action and things happen very quickly. In the management of
acute stroke, the pressing issue is time: our team has a three-hour window in
which to administer thrombolytic agents to dissolve the clot blocking blood
flow in the brain.
Local EMS responders start the process with their
assessment of the patient in the field. As soon as the ambulance calls the
Emergency Department, the response begins. Our CT imaging technologists prepare
the CT scanner and call the radiologist to put him on stand-by alert. Everyone
else on the stroke team assembles in the Emergency Department to be ready and
waiting at the door to receive the patient.
Types of stroke and diagnostic
There are two types of stroke” ischemic (caused by
a clot or vessel narrowing that blocks blood flow in the brain) and hemorrhagic
(caused by bleeding into the brain or an aneurysm that leaks or ruptures). By
examining a CT scan of the brain, a radiologist can determine if the patient
has, indeed, had a stroke and which type of stroke it is. If diagnosed in time,
ischemic strokes can be treated with thrombolytic (clot-busting) medication to
dissolve the clot and restore blood flow in the brain. Additional brain imaging
studies can be helpful to determine the extent of the impact of the stroke on
As soon as the initial CT images are taken, they are
transmitted to the radiologist for immediate interpretation. The brain attack
protocols set by the New York State Department of Health require than no more
than 20 minutes elapse between the time the patient reaches the CT table and
the time the radiologist submits his report to the stroke team. At Cayuga
Medical Center, our interpretation time is less than half that time.
How to recognize a stroke
Signs and symptoms of stroke usually occur suddenly
and may include:
or weakness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body.
Confusion, trouble speaking
Trouble seeing from one or
Trouble walking, dizziness,
or loss of balance or coordination
headache, especially of sudden onset
If you have any of these
symptoms, call 911 immediately. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital –
your symptoms could get worse while you’re driving.
Risk factors for stroke you can
change with your doctor’s help
● High blood pressure
● Tobacco use
● Carotid and other artery disease
● Irregular heart rhythm
● Illegal drug use
● Transient ischemic attacks
● Certain blood disorders
● High blood cholesterol
● Physical inactivity and obesity
● Excessive alcohol use
Stroke Team Medical Director
The Stroke Team at Cayuga Medical Center is under the
direction of Dr. Susan Cowdery, a board-certified neurologist. Click here for Dr.
For more information on NYS Department of Health Designated Stroke Centers, click here.