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
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 and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital offer Comprehensive Stroke Centers accredited by The Joint Commission. Together we have been treating stroke patients for more than 20 years and care for 1,000 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
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 Washington Hospital Center
Stroke National Performance Measures
Stroke performance measures Compliance rate* VTE prophylaxis by hospital day 2 97% 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% Statin prescribed at discharge 99% Stroke education provided 97% Assessed for rehabilitation services 100%
*National Target Benchmark is above 85% compliance
Stroke Volume 2020
Patient type # of admissions Ischemic stroke 563 Intracerebral hemorrhage 184 Subarachnoid hemorrhage 90 Transient ischemic attack 92 Total 929
U.S. News Stroke Scorecard
MedStar Washington Hospital Center Overall rating High Performing Survival Excellent Discharge patients to home Excellent Reperfusion therapy >10% Number of patients Very High
Nurse staffing Very High Intensive care unit (ICU) specialists Yes Public transparency Yes
*Hospitals that earned a high performing rating were significantly better than the national average.
- 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 (2019):
- 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 Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center
Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Centers meet rigorous quality standards for performing endovascular thrombectomy and providing post-procedural care. Certified by The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System and The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, our Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center at MedStar Health is MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.
Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
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.
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 5x increase in helicopter in/out traffic year over year.
- Our NeuroEndovascular Surgical Suite opened February 1, 2021 and has been used for 133 cases in calendar year 2021. For stroke cases, the average time to successful reperfusion is 28.2 minutes, with the fastest successful reperfusion occurring in 10 minutes.
- Our 15-bed Neuro-critical Care Unit opened in August 2021 and is usually at a high census.
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 2021.
# of admissions
Transient ischemic attack
Additional Stroke Performance Measures
Diagnostic cerebral angiogram
Serious complication rates for diagnostic cerebral angiogram are better than the national benchmark (<1%).
Greater than 95% of patients treated at MFSMC had favorable cerebral reperfusion.
AHA Stroke Honor Roll
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center earned Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite status from the American Heart Association. Gold Plus indicates our stroke center consistently met guidelines for multiple consecutive years.
IV alteplase time
We set our goal at under 30 minutes, as prior alteplase times often exceeded 45-50 minutes. In calendar year 2021, we met our goal 58% of the time.
In only the first quarter of 2021, we exceeded the number of EEG procedure-days than in the entire prior calendar year.
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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Expert neurology care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our neurosurgeons.
Distance from Change locationEnter your location
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 Georgetown University Hospital
3800 Reservoir Rd. NW 7th floor PHC Washington, DC 20007
MedStar Health: Comprehensive Stroke Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving St. NW Room 1A2 Washington, DC 20010