Stroke Centers at Duke
Comprehensive and primary stroke centers in Durham and Raleigh
A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Recognizing stroke symptoms, and calling 911 immediately is crucial to ensuring you or your loved one receives fast, lifesaving treatment. The stroke centers at Duke hospitals in Durham and Raleigh use the latest medications and procedures to diagnose and treat your stroke immediately and provide coordinated care for your stroke recovery.
What is a stroke center?
A designated stroke center meets national stroke care standards set by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), and is accredited by the Joint Commission. Designated stroke centers follow the groups’ recommendations and guidelines, and have established ways to measure improvements in stroke care and patient outcomes. There are different levels of stroke center designations.
Duke University Hospital is certified as a comprehensive stroke center, the highest level of stroke certification. Our stroke center provides the full spectrum of stroke care, from fast diagnosis and treatment to stroke rehabilitation and patient support and education. Our skilled staff and resources are ready at all times to administer complex stroke treatments. In addition, our neurological program is consistently ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report.
Research plays a pivotal role in our ability to deliver high-quality stroke care. As national leaders in stroke research, our stroke specialists help write the national guidelines for stroke prevention and treatment. We participate in studies and clinical trials that give you access to the latest treatments available. Ongoing trials include studies on the genetics of vascular disease, as well as new approaches to stroke prevention, stroke treatment, and ways to enhance post-stroke recovery.
Duke Raleigh Hospital is certified as a primary stroke center. Our stroke specialists care for all strokes using medical therapy, minimally invasive techniques and advanced surgical procedures such as thrombectomy, a clot retrieval procedure performed by highly-skilled neurosurgeons that open the blockage caused by the stroke.
Duke Regional Hospital is certified as a primary stroke center. This designation recognizes our ongoing commitment to provide quality care that results in better outcomes for out stroke patients. Our specialists care for all strokes with medical therapy and minimally invasive techniques.
Duke hospitals were awarded the 2017 AHA/ASA Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus award, which recognizes our stroke centers' ongoing commitment to improving patient care and patient outcomes.
- Duke University Hospital received the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus
- Duke Raleigh Hospital received the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite
- Duke Regional Hospital received the Target Stroke Honor Roll Elite
These honors recognize how quickly clot-busting therapy is started in patients at Duke hospitals.
Duke hospitals identify and treat stroke faster than NC hospitals on average
The AHA/ASA publish guidelines to determine how fast a stroke should be diagnosed and treated once stroke symptoms occur. Prompt treatment influences whether stroke patients can return home or to a rehabilitation facility following discharge. According to 2016 data, Duke hospitals consistently perform better than North Carolina hospitals on average.
- A stroke occurs when the brain no longer gets oxygen because its blood supply is blocked. Diagnosing the type and location of that blockage helps prevent death and permanent disability. According to AHA/ASA guidelines, brain imaging should be performed and results obtained within 45 minutes of a stroke patient entering a North Carolina hospital. Duke Hospitals achieve this goal faster than other North Carolina hospitals.
- AHA/ASA guidelines suggest the clot-busting medication TPA be administered within three hours of the start of stroke symptoms. Duke hospitals consistently perform better than the North Carolina average.
- The goal of fast stroke treatment is to minimize negative effects, including permanent disabilities, and return you to your daily activities. Duke hospitals consistently perform better than North Carolina hospitals.
Duke's Telestroke Network improves stroke care
Duke’s Telestroke Network gives patients and doctors at five NC and VA hospitals access to Duke stroke specialists 24/7. Patients at Duke Telestroke Network hospitals get the immediate care they need and, when necessary, are transferred faster to hospitals providing advanced procedures, which can make a life-or-death difference.
Stroke care at Duke
Whether you are cared for at Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, or Duke Raleigh Hospital, we have the resources and teams to provide comprehensive stroke care from diagnosis, through treatment and to help you recover and rehabilitate.
Thrombolytics -- drugs that dissolve clots to restore blood flow to your brain -- are the first line of treatment when ischemic stroke occurs.
Surgery may be needed to repair blood vessels damaged by a hemorrhagic stroke, or to open up arteries nearly blocked by plaque to prevent an ischemic stroke. Our experienced neurosurgeons and interventional radiologists use small incisions and X-ray images as a guide. The minimally invasive procedure involves the use of tiny instruments inserted into your blood vessels and arteries with a long, flexible tube called a catheter to repair the damage.
This minimally invasive procedure uses a catheter to access the carotid artery. A balloon is inflated to open the artery and a small metal mesh tube, or stent, is inserted to maintain the opening. The artery heals around the stent.
Given before and after stroke to prevent clotting and narrowing of the arteries.
At Duke, you have access to medically supervised exercise programs, nutrition and weight loss counseling, and high blood pressure management to help you manage your risk factors for stroke. Our goal is to reduce your chances of having a stroke or heart attack and improve your overall health.
Post stroke care
Duke Health provides a wealth of resources to help you recover and rehabilitate after your stroke.
We work with you to identify the causes of your stroke, help your stroke recovery, and begin secondary stroke prevention. We arrange rehabilitation and therapy services with our wide network of outpatient specialists and on an inpatient basis at the Duke Rehabilitation Institute.
Our stroke survivor support group meets the second Monday of every month from 1:00-2:30 at Duke Regional Hospital. The meeting is open to all survivors, as well as their friends and family. Please call 919-660-0096 if you have questions or need more information, including directions.
For patients and caregivers who need additional support to cope with the emotional challenges that can occur after a stroke.
We sponsor a variety of stroke education and screening events. Public awareness events for stroke prevention take place throughout the year.
Because stroke can affect both communication and swallowing, our speech-language pathologists will work with you in the hospital to help with immediate communication and swallowing needs. Whether you have aphasia or other cognitive-communicative impairments, we will provide ways for you to communicate with your medical team and your family. We can also help you transition to life with changed communication after you go home. We assess your swallowing abilities in the hospital and provide ongoing therapy and recommendations to make eating and drinking safer and easier.