Neurology - Main Campus
111 Colchester Avenue
Main Campus, East Pavilion, Level 5
Burlington, VT 05401-1473
Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth-most prevalent cause of death in the United States. However, despite these alarming statistics, it is believed that 80% of strokes can be prevented.
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked (ischemic stroke) or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke). When this happens, the brain can’t get the blood or oxygen it needs, causing brain cells to die. This can happen rapidly, which is why stroke is a time-dependent emergency that must be treated immediately.
The UVM Medical Center Stroke Program
The Stroke Program at the UVM Medical Center is a state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary stroke center. Our team works within the UVM Health Network and as part of a regional referral center that provides excellence in patient care, leadership in stroke education and opportunities for stroke research.
We offer comprehensive care, from prevention to rehabilitation, with treatment options and therapies focused around the individual needs of our patients. Our knowledgeable physicians are highly trained in diagnosing and treating stroke, using advanced technology and rigorous medical standards. Each year, our center treats over 600 patients.
We are a Primary Stroke Center as certified by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading organization for setting health care quality standards, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Our team approach brings together a range of physicians and specialists to provide optimal stroke care. The UVM Medical Center's multidisciplinary Acute Care Stroke team includes the following specialists:
- Acute rehabilitation nurse coordinators
- Case managers and social workers
- Radiologists and a neuro-interventional radiologist
- Resident physicians
- Stroke nurse practitioner
- Stroke program coordinator
- Stroke research coordinator
- Stroke-trained RNs
- Palliative care specialists
- Physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists
Once patients are admitted to the hospital, they receive a full workup to assess the causes of the stroke, which may include brain or blood vessel imaging, lab work, cardiac rhythmic monitoring and / or ultrasound of the heart.
Stroke Treatments and Services
The Stroke Program treats a variety of cerebrovascular conditions, with the most common being ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and transient ischemic attack (TIA). Your provider may take use a combination of medical therapy and surgical treatment to treat your condition, including:
- Providing rapid diagnosis and treatment
- Administering clot-busting medication to prevent the progression of symptoms
- Identifying whether you could benefit from interventional therapies
Although rare, pediatric patients may also suffer strokes. At UVM Medical Center, we have adapted our adult stroke care protocols to be able to treat eligible pediatric stroke patients while keeping them closer to home.
After treatment, you may require rehabilitation to recover from your stroke. Stroke rehabilitation begins during hospital admission, with assessments by our knowledgeable and experienced physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists, who will then provide recommendations and develop individualized treatment to ensure the safest option and best outcomes for our stroke patients.
In some cases, inpatient rehabilitation may be recommended. The Stroke Program works closely with the UVM Medical Center Inpatient Rehabilitation unit to support eligible stroke patients. Inpatient rehabilitation offers the latest technologies and research-backed treatments to help you regain as much function and independence as possible after a stroke.
To reduce your risk of stroke:
- Know your blood pressure and work with your healthcare provider if it is elevated.
- Find out whether or not you have atrial fibrillation.
- If you smoke, stop.
- Find out if you have high cholesterol.
- If diabetic, follow recommendations to control your diabetes.
- Include exercise in your daily routine and maintain a healthy weight.
- Enjoy a lower-sodium, lower-fat diet.
Secondary Stroke Prevention
Patients who have suffered a stroke are at higher risk of having another. Work with your healthcare provider to make a secondary stroke prevention plan which may include:
- Healthy diet
- Taking prescribed medications as ordered
- Losing weight and/or maintain a healthy weight
- Following your prescribed diabetes regimen
- Managing high blood pressure
- Controlling your cholesterol
- Quitting smoking, tobacco, and/or vaping
- Cardiac monitoring
The UVM Medical Center Stroke Program intends to create an environment of collaborative clinical research in order to advance medical knowledge and offer our patients access to the latest medical innovations. As a member of the NIH StrokeNet, the UVMMC Stroke Program participates in a variety of clinical trials and research studies; stroke patients may be approached for enrollment after being screened during hospital admission.