Receiving care at the first sign of a stroke is critical. When a person with stroke symptoms enters a Scripps hospital emergency room, our experts are equipped to provide a full spectrum of care — from diagnosis and treatment to recovery and rehabilitation. All Scripps hospital campuses with emergency rooms have been designated Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission.
Fast, accurate stroke diagnosis improves outcomes. Scripps physicians, nurses and other medical staff are specially trained to recognize the signs of stroke and provide immediate, expert care. Our emergency room physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists quickly determine the nature of the stroke and provide state-of-the-art treatment.
Through an agreement with emergency medical services (EMS) providers in San Diego County, when a stroke patient with signs of a large vessel blockage arrives at one of Scripps’ primary stroke centers, a critical care transportation ambulance and nurse are dispatched to that hospital and remain on stand-by during the patient’s clinical evaluation. This allows us to rapidly transfer patients who may need a higher level of care over to our comprehensive stroke center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
When a patient comes to the emergency room with stroke symptoms, it’s critical to diagnose the type of stroke quickly in order to provide the right treatment.
In the emergency room, the stroke team determines the diagnosis by gathering a patient’s medical history and conducting a physical and neurological examination. Scripps’ highly skilled stroke care experts employ the latest imaging and diagnostic technology to make an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible and begin the best treatment.
Our diagnostic tests include:
- Advanced imaging scans of the brain, using computed tomography (CT) and CT perfusion or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI perfusion, to show the location and extent of brain injury
- Blood flow tests, such as CT angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA), carotid ultrasound, transcranial Doppler and cerebral angiography, to provide detailed information about the condition of the arteries that supply blood to the brain
- Diagnostic labs, including blood-clotting studies, to look for certain factors that could contribute to a stroke
- Cardiac evaluation, including EKG, echocardiogram and long-term cardiac monitoring
Scripps stroke experts begin the most advanced treatments for stroke in the emergency room as soon as the type of stroke is determined.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability, often producing long-term side effects, such as:
- Paralysis or weakness
- Mobility, balance or coordination problems
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- Memory or learning problems
Scripps Health offers expert rehabilitation care for stroke survivors. Our full continuum of care ranges from acute inpatient rehabilitation to our brain injury day treatment program to outpatient stroke rehab and home health rehabilitation. Our goal is to help stroke survivors relearn skills and abilities and return to productive, independent living.
While success depends partially on the amount of damage to the brain, starting rehabilitation as soon as possible with caregivers who are highly experienced in stroke therapies can enhance recovery. Our multidisciplinary stroke rehabilitation teams include physical, occupational and speech therapists, physicians, nurses and other rehabilitation professionals. Along with personalized treatment plans, our stroke rehabilitation programs include recreational outings, support groups, work an home space evaluations and physical conditioning.
Scripps teams are actively involved in developing new ways to improve stroke care for patients countywide, regardless of where they are admitted. Outreach and education with local first responders (paramedics and emergency medical technicians), as well as collaboration with the American Stroke Association, are just two examples of the many contributions Scripps teams are making in our local communities to benefit patients.
Scripps also created a set of stroke codes to use with regional first responders when paramedics and EMTs believe their patient may have had a stroke. This notification further aims to improve coordination, quick transport and treatment of stroke patients.
As part of our stroke rehab programs, Scripps offers several support groups and classes about stroke and brain injury in Encinitas. The twice-monthly support group is free and open to anyone who has had a stroke or brain injury, as well as caregivers and loved ones of those coping with stroke and brain injury. We also offer an improvisational speaking class (called Brainmasters) and a healing arts class. Visit our events page to see upcoming dates and times.
As designated Primary Stroke Centers, all Scripps hospitals with emergency rooms in San Diego offer comprehensive stroke treatment:
- Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
- Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego
- Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista
- Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas
If you think you are having a stroke, please call 9-1-1 immediately.