Comprehensive Stroke Care | MedStar Health
MedStar Health is e toquipped respond quickly and effectively to an evolving stroke to provide expert care for patients.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. Strokes are the leading cause of disability and the number four cause of death in the U.S.

At MedStar Health, patients who suffer a stroke have access to every possible resource to help reduce the risk of permanent brain damage or death. Our board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, and neurointerventional radiologists work together, using the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies and techniques to restore blood flow to the brain as rapidly as possible.

Every minute matters. The earlier the blood flow is restored, the less likely a stroke patient will have permanent damage. Time is brain.

Why choose MedStar Health?

At MedStar Health, we offer:

  • Immediate access to board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventional radiologists, and other experts, either on-site or through our TeleStroke video
  • MedSTAR Rapid Transport, the region’s only 24/7 emergency transport program, including state-of-the-art medevac helicopters and ambulances staffed by highly trained emergency response teams.
  • Two hospitals with Joint Commission-accredited Comprehensive Stroke Programs – MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
  • Several other hospitals with Primary Stroke Centers throughout Maryland, Including MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.
  • Access to the latest treatment options, including thrombectomy and aneurysm coiling and stenting.
  • Outpatient stroke care focused on specialized follow-up to ensure the best possible long-term clinical outcomes.
  • Clinical research through ongoing National Institutes of Health-funded studies.

Our comprehensive stroke centers

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center was first hospital in Washington, D.C. to be designated by the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Now, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center offer Comprehensive Stroke Centers accredited by The Joint Commission. Together we have been treating stroke patients for more than 20 years and care for 4,000 stroke patients each year.

We understand the urgency and have the expertise to treat the most complex strokes.


Comprehensive stroke center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

  • Stroke National Performance Measures

    Stroke performance measures Compliance rate*
    VTE prophylaxis by hospital day 2  99.2% 
    Anti-thrombotic Medication at hospital discharge 100% 
    Anticoagulation therapy prescribed at hospital discharge for patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter  100% 
    Antithrombotic medication by end of hospital day number 2  96.2%
    Stroke education provided  98.7% 
    Assessed for rehabilitation services  100% 
    *National Target Benchmark is above 85% compliance
  • Carotid Procedures

    Outcome measure MedStar Georgetown
    Patients without signs and symptoms of stroke who had good outcomes* after carotid procedure  100% 
    Patients with signs and symptoms of stroke who had good outcomes* after carotid procedure 100% 
    Patients who had good outcomes after diagnostic cerebral angiogram  100% 

Comprehensive stroke center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

  • Our Mission

    For our communities, we commit to provide access to the highest standard in healthcare, from one day to the next. We aspire to be widely recognized by our medical neighborhood as the preferred center for comprehensive neurologic care.

  • Growth

    To keep pace with the needs of our community, our Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center’s notable growth milestones include:

    • Our helipad opened in March 2020 and was built largely in response to the growth of our neurosciences program. Since its construction, there has been a progressive increase in helicopter in/out traffic year over year.
    • Our NeuroEndovascular Surgical Suite opened February 1, 2021 and has performed over 600 procedures since inception.  For stroke cases, the average time to successful reperfusion is 27.2 minutes, with the fastest successful reperfusion occurring in 5 minutes. 
    • Our 15-bed Neuro-critical Care Unit opened in August 2021 and is usually at a high census, caring for a wide range of complex neurovascular disease, such as intracerebral/subarachnoid hemorrhage, cerebral aneurysms, and carotid stenosis.  
  • Stroke Volume

    Since investing in the infrastructure required to support comprehensive stroke treatment, the stroke volume at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center has increased significantly. The data below is from 2022.


    Patient type

    # of admissions

    Ischemic stroke


    Intracerebral hemorrhage


    Subarachnoid hemorrhage


    Transient ischemic attack




  • Additional Stroke Performance Measures

    • Diagnostic cerebral angiography
      A Diagnostic Cerebral Angiogram is a procedure used to characterize the blood vessels of the brain with very high resolution.  It involves placing a catheter into an artery and using X-Rays to navigate this catheter through the blood vessels supplying the brain.  Because it is an invasive procedure, there is always a risk of potential complications, and the national benchmark for complications is <1%. Complication rates at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center for a Diagnostic Cerebral Angiogram are better than this national benchmark at <1%. 

    • Endovascular stroke thrombectomy
      Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity in the US.  Endovascular Thrombectomy is a cutting-edge procedure to physically remove blood clots in the brain and neck that can cause stroke.  It is time-sensitive, and greater than 94% of patients treated at MFSMC had favorable cerebral reperfusion after obtaining a stroke thrombectomy, with our fastest recorded time from arterial access to successful reperfusion at 5 minutes. Symptomatic hemorrhagic transformation rate after thrombectomy was 5.3% in 2022.   

    • 2021 American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines award logo_MWHC_MFSMC

      AHA Stroke Honor Roll
      MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center earned The Get with Guidelines -Stroke Gold Plus with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, Advanced Therapy and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll. Gold status indicates a stroke center consistently meets the achievement criteria for consecutive years.  

    • Carotid artery procedures
      Narrowing and blockage of the carotid arteries supplying the brain can be a risk factor for stroke. Treating carotid arteries can be achieved through various procedures, such as carotid artery stenting, carotid endarterectomy, or transcarotid artery revascularization. For stroke patients that undergo one of these procedures, the 30-day complication rate, including new stroke or death, is expected to be <6%, nationally. MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center’s rate is 1.5%, which is well below the national average.

      The corresponding complication rate for asymptomatic patients is expected to be <3% for asymptomatic patients with carotid artery narrowing. MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center’s rate is 0%.

    Medstar Franklin Square is compliant with core measures established by the joint commission and Maryland Institute for EMS Systems (MIEMSS) and tracks all relevant data. View Our publicly reported data for a variety of stroke core measures here (in the search field, choose Baltimore for the City and stroke for the disease state).

Comprehensive stroke center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

  • Stroke National Performance Measures

    Stroke performance measures Compliance rate*
    Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis              97.1% 
    Antithrombotic prescribed at discharge 99.4% 
    Anticoagulant prescribed at discharge for Afib             100% 
    Thrombolytic given within 3 hours for acute stroke             96.9%
    Antithrombotic prescribed by day 2           95.6% 
    Statin prescribed at discharge             99.6% 
    Stroke education            95.9% 
    Assessed for rehabilitation            99.3% 
    *National Target Benchmark is above 85% compliance
  • Stroke Volume 2023

    Patient type # of admissions
    Ischemic stroke             593            
    Intracerebral hemorrhage 188           
    Subarachnoid hemorrhage            93           
    Transient ischemic attack            94
     Total 968
  • U.S. News Stroke Scorecard

    MedStar Washington Hospital Center
    Overall rating             High Performing
    Survival           Excellent           
    Discharge patients to home            Excellent           
    Number of patients Very High
    Avoiding overuse of carotid endarterectomy Excellent           
    Nurse staffing Very High           
     Public transparency Yes

    *Hospitals that earned a high performing rating were significantly better than the national average.


    Quality Indicators

    • Survival: Relative survival 30 days after hospitalization for stroke, compared to other hospitals treating similar patients.
    • Discharging patients directly to home: How often patients can go directly home from the hospital rather than being discharged to another facility. Recovery at home is preferred by most patients and families.
    • Reperfusion therapy: Percentage of stroke patients treated with reperfusion therapy (Greater than 10% = Above average amount of therapy provided). This measure quantifies how often the hospital provided time-sensitive medical intervention such as intravenous tissue plasminogen activator or mechanical thrombectomy.
    • Number of patients: Relative volume of Medicare inpatients age 65 and over who had this procedure or condition in 2015-2019. Higher volume is associated with better outcomes.
    • Nurse staffing: More nursing care per patient is associated with better outcomes and better patient experience.
    • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Specialists: Whether the hospital has at least one adult intensive-care unit staffed by a doctor specifically certified or trained to care for ICU patients.
    • Public transparency: Whether hospital publicly shared its stroke data through the American Heart Association. Hospitals participating in transparency programs foster sharing of data and adoption of best practices.
  • Additional Stroke Performance Measures for Procedures and Interventions

    Additional stroke performance measures for procedures and interventions at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (2023):

    • Serious complication rates for carotid endarterectomy and carotid stenting are better than the national benchmark (<6% for symptomatic ICA stenosis and <3% for asymptomatic ICA stenosis).
    • Serious complication rates for diagnostic cerebral angiogram are better than the national benchmark (<1%).

Our Primary Stroke Centers

Primary Stroke Centers serve our communities with measurable, quality care when stroke patients need us. At MedStar Health, our Primary Stroke Centers include MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, MedStar St. Mary's Hospital, and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.


Identifying the type of stroke and initiating treatment

Our physicians are prepared to respond quickly and effectively to an evolving stroke. When a patient with a possible stroke comes in, emergency department (ED) physicians activate the stroke team and begin a battery of tests that will determine the patient’s course of treatment. Depending on each patient’s symptoms and how soon they arrive in the ED for assessment after the onset of the symptoms, our team will use the most appropriate diagnostic tool, whether that is an MRI or CT Scan. MedStar Health exceeds national standards and door-to-needle times within 60-minutes for most patients.

Not only is it important to diagnose if someone has just had a stroke, doctors must also determine the type of stroke. The treatment is different, based on whether it is an ischemic stroke (caused by a clot blockage) or a hemorrhagic stroke (caused by a rupture). Depending on the type and severity of the stroke, treatment options will vary, and may include surgery.

Immediate treatment

Our specialists will order a variety of diagnostic tests to determine the location and extent of brain injury, as well as evaluate the condition of the arteries in the heart and neck that supply blood to the brain.

  • Ischemic Stroke

    The most effective medicine for the treatment of ischemic stroke is the FDA-approved drug, t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator). Taken intravenously, it works with your body's enzymes to dissolve blood clots. This highly effective treatment must be given within four and a half hours of the onset of stroke, so it is imperative to seek medical care without delay.

    Remember to BEFAST:
    B-Balance - Watch for sudden loss of balance
    E-Eyes - Check for blurry vision
    F-Face - Look for face drooping
    A-Arm - Check for arm weakness
    S-Speech - Listen for speech difficulty
    T-Time - Call 911 right away

  • Hemorrhagic Stroke

    The best and safest ways to remove blood from the brain after a hemorrhage, and minimize damage to the brain, include surgical removal of the clot, clot busting medication to dissolve the clot, and medications to minimize swelling caused by the clot. For hemorrhages caused by aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations, a skilled neuroradiologists or neurosurgeon can repair or block the vessels to prevent further bleeding. Many of these procedures can be performed through a minimally invasive technique.

Surgical treatment

Certain strokes originating from carotid artery disease, brain aneurysms, AVMs, and hypertensive hemorrhages benefit greatly from surgical interventions. Using the most advanced surgical and microsurgical techniques available today, MedStar Health neurosurgeons perform:

  • Surgical clipping of complex (ruptured and unruptured) brain aneurysms
  • Surgical resection of arteriovenous malformations/fistulas
  • Carotid stenosis treatment which removes the plaque that caused the narrowing of the artery

Recovery and rehabilitation

Quick intervention in a stroke can save a life, but long-term rehabilitation can give many victims back their quality of life as well. The specialists at MedStar Health include occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and case managers who provide guidance and encouragement to help the patients “retrain the brain.” Therapy is available on an inpatient and outpatient basis and is customized to each individual’s needs.

Learn More About Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery

Our providers

Amie Hsia

Expert neurology care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our neurosurgeons.

Our locations

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MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital

102 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC, 20010

MedStar Health: Comprehensive Stroke Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Patient Care Tower, 2nd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21237