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According to the American Stroke Association a stroke occurs in the U.S. approximately every 40 seconds.*
*Source: American Stroke Association

Ischemic Stroke Overview

An  ischemic  stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked by a clot. As a result, part of the brain cannot get blood and oxygen and begins to die. There are two types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic, which results from bleeding in the brain.


Stroke, which is sometimes called “brain attack,” is the fifth most common cause of death for Americans and is the leading cause of adult disability. Stroke is more common in women than in men. Each year 800,000 Americans will suffer a stroke and 130,000 will die as a result.


  • Thrombotic: a clot develops in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
  • Embolic: a clot develops elsewhere and is transported by the blood to a narrow brain artery. This is often caused by an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to pooling and clotting of blood in the heart.

WellStar physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating Ischemic and Hemorrhagic stroke.


WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center located in Marietta offers a full service Neuroscience program for Stroke and other neurological emergencies. Kennestone is one of the few comprehensive cerebrovascular neurosurgery programs in the region, offering state-of-the-art procedures for both open and closed vascular and endovascular procedures for stroke and carotid artery disease. Kennestone is proud to offer the highest level of specialized care in order to meet the needs of our region and beyond. In addition, WellStar Kennestone offers a CARF certified in-patient Rehabilitation program on campus.


A key component adding to the breadth of the stroke program at WellStar Kennestone is active participation in clinical research trials. While always adhering to best practice and Gold standards of care, clinical trials allow our highly trained physicians to better the care of our stroke patients and collaborate with highly renowned scientist and physicians to offer the latest techniques and adjuncts to the current treatment plan. In addition, clinical trials allow patients participate in the latest stroke research and take advantage of emerging medications and treatments.


To best serve our community, WellStar AMC-Downtown, AMC-South, Cobb, North Fulton, and Spalding Hospitals are Disease Specific Care Certified as Advanced Primary Stroke Centers. In addition, these WellStar hospitals have acheived the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus Achievement Award and are on the Target Stroke Honor Role Elite. The WellStar Stroke Center at Cobb Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission as a Stroke Center of Excellence and features a CARF certified in-patient Rehabilitation program on campus. WellStar Douglas Hospital is a certified Remote Stroke Treatment Center.


All WellStar hospitals partner with skilled and compassionate emergency responders through Emergency Medical Systems, each covering designated areas to best serve our communities. In addition, WellStar Hospitals utilize a Transfer Call Center to help facilitate the transfer of an acute stroke patient to Kennestone Hospital. When a stroke patient needs a higher level of care or a specific procedure, the Transfer Call Center works off established protocols to expedite a safe transfer between hospitals when needed. The Transfer Center also works with outlying hospitals and their acute neurologic needs to facilitate transfers to Kennestone Hospital.


Wellstar Hospital System is proud to announce our partnership with the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This provides our doctors and other specialists with access to Mayo-reviewed medical information and guidelines. It connects our front line physicians to expert consultation and research surrounding the best treatment plans for our sickest and most complex patient population.


Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Call 911 immediately if you believe you or someone else is having a stroke! Think of the acronym FAST to remember symptoms.


F- Facial drop or uneven smile


A- Arm/leg numbness or weakness, loss or coordination or balance


S- Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding simple commands


T- Time to call 911 and get to the hospital immediately; note the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared



In addition to the F.A.S.T. symptoms (facial droop, arm/leg weakness/loss of coordination or balance, slurred speech and difficulty speaking or understanding simple commands), other signs of a stroke include:


  • Dizziness
  • Paralysis on one side of the body or face (if you try to raise both arms over your head and one begins to fall, it may indicate a stroke)
  • Sudden vision problems
  • Sudden, severe headache – with no known cause
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Women may report unique stroke symptoms including the sudden onset of:


  • Face and limb pain
  • Nausea
  • General weakness, more on one side

Not all symptoms will be apparent with every stroke. If any of these symptoms appear, get immediate medical help – call 911


Risk Factors

Many risk factors for stroke are the same for men and women


Risk Factors we Can Change or Control:


  • Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure,the number one risk factor for stroke.
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Use of alcohol, cocaine and other drugs

Risk Factors that we Cannot change or Control


  • Family history of stroke
  • Race. African-Americans have a higher risk of death from stroke than Caucasians.
  • Age. The risk of stroke approximately doubles for each decade after age 55
  • Prior stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) also known as a “warning stroke” that has similar symptoms but does no lasting damage. Women suffer more strokes than men. And certain risks are unique to women. Among these: Note: Please talk to your doctor prior to stopping any medication you are on.
  • Taking birth control pills and smoking increases your risk for stroke.
  • Using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a combined therapy of progestin and estrogen to relieve menopausal symptoms.
  • Having a thick waist and high triglyceride (blood fat) level.
  • Suffering from migraine headaches. Migraine can increase a woman's stroke risk 3-6 times; most Americans who suffer migraines are women.