Reducing the impact of strokes from start to rehab

Not long ago, stroke victims were sent to one of two homes – nursing or funeral. Today, most return to their own homes. Their own lives. But they are not quite good as new. For many stroke victims, the impact of their stroke is life-changing. And permanent.

Stroke care at the The Brain Centre at the University of Alberta Hospital will focus on diagnosis, treatment, research and prevention. For out-of-towners, we have Telestroke, the next best thing to being here.

Stroke Treatment Unit and TIA "Warning Stroke" observation rooms

Our eight-bed stroke unit will allow specially trained staff to carefully observe stroke patients and provide timely, advanced treatment. Immediate access to inpatient rehabilitation, critical in the recovery of all stroke patients, will begin in the adjacent In-patient Rehabilitation Centre as soon as the patient is able to participate. Our new 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines for clinical diagnosis and research will vastly improve our ability to detect stroke activity, determine the most appropriate treatment care and help develop criteria for acute stroke treatment.

Correct diagnosis begins with crystal clear imaging

With our new research-based, 3Tesla MRI scanner, researchers will be able to obtain direct measurements. Brain research is about understanding what’s happening in the brain and the diseases that afflict it. It’s comparing healthy and unhealthy brains. Taking measurements. Looking for clues that reveal how problems developed. And how to solve them. The superior image clarity revealed by a 3T MRI is particularly beneficial for conditions that involve the brain.

Stroke Ambulance

Its purpose is simple: rather than wait for the patient to go to the stroke centre, the University of Alberta Hospital will send the stroke ambulance out to the patient - to scan their brain and, if required, start clot-busting drugs right there in the ambulance.

This will be the first Stroke Ambulance in the world to provide stroke patient care beyond the limits of a major urban centre. That’s significant, because nearly 25% of the more than 1300 stroke patients who received acute stroke care at the University of Alberta Hospital in 2014 came from beyond the Edmonton zone. Learn More about the Stroke Ambulance...

Advancing Technologies in Stroke Care

A second neurovascular interventional suite meets growing demands for stroke care at the University of Alberta Hospital.

For some stroke patients, clot-busting medication (tPA) is not enough. That's why clot retrieval procedures have become a critical component of acute stroke treatment. Having two advanced neurovascular interventional suites enables doctors to provide more of this life-saving stroke care.

Thanks to investments made by the Brain Centre Campaign, the University of Alberta Hospital is home to the only two neurovascular interventional suites in Northern Alberta. Each suite is outfitted with biplane angiography, an advanced, minimally invasive technology used to diagnose and treat stroke and other neurological conditions including:

  • Brain aneurysms,
  • Brain and neck tumours,
  • Blockages of the artery that supply the head and neck with oxygenated blood, and
  • Hemorrhages within the skull.

The neurovascular interventional suites - combined with innovative technology, University of Alberta Hospital expertise, and new national guidelines - mean that more Albertans have better chance to survive stroke without serious disability.

endovascular thrombectomy

Advanced technology guides clot-removal procedure

The most important technology in neurovascular interventional suites is the biplane angiography system. This system produces highly detailed 3D views of blood vessels leading to, and deep within, the brain. With these images, interventional neuroradiologists can safely navigate the vessels of the brain with a microcatheter to remove blood clots that will not respond to clot-busting medication. Blood flow is restored within minutes. The most severe strokes, the ones with a success rate of 5-15% with clot-busting drugs, occur in the largest arteries. 

An inside look at clot retrieval technology

About 15% of strokes are caused by a blood clot in the brain that can be cleared through endovascular thrombectomy. Around 125 endovascular thrombectomies were performed in 2017 at University of Alberta Hospital - a number that's expected to increase to more than 175 in 2018 with new national guidelines. Patients living in remote areas who require more travel time to receive treatment in Edmonton will be one of the groups to benefit most. 

Connecting with Stroke Ambulance

The Stroke Ambulance brings patients to the University of Alberta Hospital. CT images taken inside the ambulance will provide neurologists with the information they need to determine the type of stroke before the patient even arrives at the hospital. If required, the patient will be sent for a CT angiogram, a specialized CT scan to determine whether there’s a blood clot in one of the larger artieries in the brain causing the stroke.


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