Stroke & Aneurysm Care

Lifesaving Treatment for Strokes and Aneurysms

When it comes to a stroke, nothing is more important than time. A rapid response from skilled specialists can make all the difference.

At Sanford Health, you’ll find the region’s largest and most experienced stroke and aneurysm team. We’re always ready to provide advanced, lifesaving treatment — wherever you are.

What Are Strokes and Aneurysms?

A stroke can happen when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. When this occurs, the brain cells in the affected area start to die.

There are two different types of strokes:

  • Ischemic stroke: A common type of stroke caused by the blockage of an artery or vein, or blood clot, causes this more common type of stroke.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: A ruptured blood vessel, often resulting from a brain aneurysm, causes this less common type of stroke. An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened blood vessel.

Stroke Care in Your Community

We want you to get the best care no matter where you live in the region. Telestroke is our telemedicine service. It virtually connects health care providers in rural locations throughout the Dakotas and Minnesota with Sanford neurologists.

Telestroke ensures you get prompt access to lifesaving care close to home, which can lessen the damage caused by a stroke. Our specialists use videoconferencing to quickly determine treatment needs and get patients to a different facility if needed.

Watch our Telestroke demonstration.

Comprehensive Stroke Recovery Care

We help you with every aspect of your recovery — from the physical to the emotional. Our stroke rehabilitation team teaches you and your family to make changes that will help you recover. We help you relearn skills and develop new ways of doing things.

You can also connect with other stroke survivors at our Bemidji stroke support group:

Where: Sanford Bemidji Medical Center Education Center

When: 2:30-4 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month

Our Nationally Recognized Stroke Center

Sanford Medical Center Fargo is the only designated Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. That’s the highest certification available from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. It is only given to select hospitals in the United States. 

Being an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center means we can treat the most serious stroke cases. We also meet rigorous requirements, including:

  • A dedicated neuro-intensive care unit with a 24/7 stroke team
  • Comprehensive tests to accurately diagnose stroke fast
  • The latest surgical techniques
  • Forward-thinking stroke research and education programs

Our Stroke Treatments

While strokes can cause long-term disability, newer treatments are lowering the risk of lasting damage. You get leading-edge options at Sanford Health, including less invasive procedures that offer shorter recovery times.

Depending on the type of stroke, your treatment may include:

  • Stroke prevention: We work with you to manage carotid artery disease, a buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessels of the brain and neck. We can help you make lifestyle changes to prevent future strokes.
  • Clot-busting drugs: Called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), this medicine breaks up blood clots and improves blood flow to the brain.
  • Endovascular procedures: During these procedures, we insert a thin, hollow tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in the groin, thread the catheter to the brain with the help of X-ray guidance and use the catheter to deliver medication or remove a clot.
  • Brain aneurysm coiling: During this endovascular procedure, we insert tiny coils to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing.
  • Neurosurgery: We offer complex neurosurgery options, such as microvascular clipping. This procedure cuts off blood flow to an aneurysm and prevents further damage.

Stroke Symptoms

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. Know the signs and B.E. F.A.S.T. Call 911 right away if you experience these symptoms:

  • B – Sudden loss of balance
  • E – Loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • F – Facial drooping, usually on one side
  • A – Arm drift (one arm hangs or drifts down)
  • S – Slurred speech
  • T – Time to call 911 now

Women may also experience more unusual stroke symptoms, such as fainting, difficulty breathing and seizures.

Aneurysm Symptoms

When an aneurysm bursts, you feel a sudden and painful headache. Some call it the worst headache of their life. Call 911 immediately if you suspect you have an aneurysm.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seeing double
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Losing consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack

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