Stroke Care

Our team of stroke specialists offers timely, effective care for a variety of stroke and cerebrovascular conditions.

Stroke Care

Overview

Your brain requires a constant flow of oxygen-rich blood to function properly. If blood flow is interrupted – even for a few minutes – brain cells begin to die. During a stroke, thousands of brain cells die every second due to blood supply problems. A lack of blood supply can affect your ability to speak, swallow, remember and move.

The good news is that the timing of stroke treatment can make all the difference in the outcome. If proper stroke treatment is administered quickly, damage to the brain can be minimized. That’s why we offer prompt, comprehensive stroke treatment – so you can recover quickly and get back to living your best life.

Aurora Difference

Along with our Primary Stroke Centers, the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center offers dedicated care 24/7, including:

  • A stroke treatment team made up of varied experts, including neurologists and neurosurgeons; rehabilitation therapists; occupational, speech and physical therapists; and doctors and nurses
  • State-of-the-art testing to identify the source of a stroke quickly and accurately
  • Neurosurgical treatment to repair brain damage caused by strokes
  • Neuro-endovascular services and advanced therapies 
If you’re experiencing signs of a stroke, our standards of care are designed to help save your life. They include written protocols for emergency care of stroke patients, special training for emergency room staff to accurately diagnose and treat stroke, and dedicated stroke units staffed by doctors and nurses who are experienced in caring for stroke patients.

Stroke Symptoms

It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the stroke symptoms below, call 9-1-1 and seek immediate medical attention. Every second counts.

To remember the symptoms of a stroke, B.E. F.A.S.T.:

B = Balance (Do you have sudden loss of balance or coordination?)
E = Eyes (Is your vision blurred? Do you have double vision or sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes?)
F = Face (Can you smile? Does one side of the face sag or droop?)
A = Arms (Can you raise both arms? Or does one arm drift downward?)
S = Speech (Is your speech slurred or strange-sounding? Can you repeat a single sentence?)
T = Terrible headache (Sudden onset of a terrible headache or “the worst headache of your life”)

Causes, Types & Risk Factors

Causes of Stroke

Most strokes are caused by a blocked blood vessel in the brain, but they can also happen when a blood vessel begins leaking or bursts. Additionally, a stroke can be caused by blood clots that block blood vessels in the brain, or clots that form elsewhere in the body and travel through your bloodstream to the brain.

Conditions that increase your chance of stroke include:

Types of Stroke and Stroke-Related Conditions

There are several different types of stroke, as well as other conditions that affect the brain and its blood vessels. These conditions can cause stroke-like symptoms. Known as cerebrovascular conditions, they include things like brain aneurysm and hemorrhage.

Types of stroke we treat include:

  • Ischemic stroke, where a blood vessel to the brain becomes blocked
  • Hemorrhagic stroke, where a blood vessel starts to leak or burst
  • Thrombotic stroke, where a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain
  • Embolic stroke, where a blood clot forms elsewhere in the body and travels to the brain

Types of cerebrovascular conditions we treat include:

  • Aphasia, the loss of speech
  • Basilar Artery Thrombosis, a blockage in the brain’s basil artery system [link]
  • Carotid Disease and Dissection, where plaque builds up and causes blockages in the arteries in your neck
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), a “mini-stroke” or temporary blockage of blood to the brain

Didn’t see your condition? See more stroke and cerebrovascular conditions we treat:

 

Risk Factors for Stroke

Certain characteristics and lifestyle choices can increase your risk of stroke. For instance, more than half of strokes are caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Risk factors of stroke you can control include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension/high blood pressure
  • Smoking

Risk factors of stroke you can’t control include:

  • Age: The risk of having a stroke doubles every 10 years after age 55.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to have strokes than men and are more likely to die after having a stroke.
  • Personal or family history of stroke: Genetic factors may contribute to your risk of stroke. 
  • Personal history of heart attack
  • Race: People of African descent are twice as likely as Caucasians to have a stroke. Hispanics, American Indians and Alaskan natives are also more likely than non-Hispanic whites or Asians to have a stroke.

Services & Treatment

Lifestyle changes and medications may help decrease your risk of having a stroke, but sometimes surgery may be necessary. 
 
Healthy lifestyle changes may include:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains
  • Getting more exercise 
  • Getting your diabetes under control (if you are diabetic)
  • Losing weight 
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Lowering your cholesterol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Treating metabolic syndrome
Medications to reduce your risk of stroke may include blood thinners, which help lower the blood’s ability to form clots, and medications to reduce your blood pressure. If you’ve had an ischemic stroke, there are medications available that can dissolve the clot, but they must be administered within 3-4 hours of the stroke. 
 
There are also devices that help filter blood clots from the left (arterial) side of the heart and lower the risk that any clots will travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
 
Surgical procedures to treat stroke or reduce the risk of stroke may include:

  • Thrombectomy: A thrombectomy is the most common type of stroke procedure. During a thrombectomy, a surgeon makes an incision into a blood vessel in order to remove a blood clot. They might also insert a balloon to help keep the blood vessel open. Next, they repair the blood vessel so blood flow is restored.
  • Angioplasty and stenting: Your surgeon will insert a balloon into a clogged artery and inflate it to widen the space inside. Then, a stent (an expandable tube) is placed in the space to keep the artery propped open.
  • Carotid endarterectomy: Your surgeon will remove the blockage that has caused  or may cause a stroke.
  • Cerebral bypass surgery (ECA/MCA/STA bypass surgery): First, your doctor will remove a blood vessel from another part of your body. Then he or she will drill a small hole into your skull and surgically connect the new vessel in your brain so blood can flow around the clogged artery, bypassing it entirely.

Locations

Aurora St. Luke's South Shore
5900 S. Lake Dr
Cudahy, WI 53110
414-489-9000

Aurora Medical Center in Grafton
975 Port Washington Rd
Grafton, WI 53024
262-329-1080

Aurora Baycare Medical Center
2845 Greenbrier Rd
Green Bay, WI 54311
920-288-4010

Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha
10400 75th St
Kenosha, WI 53142
262-948-5600

Aurora Lakeland Medical Center
W3985 County Road NN
Elkhorn, WI 53121
262-741-2000

Aurora Sinai Medical Center
945 N. 12th St
Milwaukee, WI 53233
414-219-2000

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center
2900 W. Oklahoma Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53215
414-649-6000

Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh
855 N. Westhaven Dr
Oshkosh, WI 54904
920-456-6000

Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center
2629 N. 7th St
Sheboygan, WI 53083
920-451-5000

Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington
252 McHenry St
Burlington, WI 53105
262-767-6000

Aurora Medical Center in Summit
36500 Aurora Dr
Summit, WI 53066
262-434-1000

Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County
5000 Memorial Dr
Two Rivers, WI 54241
920-794-5000

Aurora West Allis Medical Center
8901 W. Lincoln Ave
West Allis, WI 53227
414-328-6000

Aurora Medical Center Washington County
1032 E Sumner St
Hartford, WI 53027
262-673-2300