Stroke Treatment

The Joint Commission, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association Certification meets standards for Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke CentersWhen every second counts, having the experience and capability nearby to care for you can make all the difference. Sierra Vista is certified by The Joint Commission as an advanced thrombectomy-capable stroke center. Our local interventional neurology team is on-call around the clock to provide the only endovascular approach to treating ischemic stroke patients in San Luis Obispo County. That means you’re treated quickly and within your own community to help minimize brain damage and improve outcomes. Twin Cities is also designated by the American Heart/American Stroke Association as a recipient of their Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus award for quality achievement.  This award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.


What is Stroke?

A stroke is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to begin dying from lack of oxygenated blood.

There are two major kinds of stroke:

  • Ischemic Stroke - The most common, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel or artery in the brain. This clot causes a region of the brain to be deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients, leading to death of brain cells.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke – This type of stroke is caused by a blood vessel breaking and bleeding into the brain. Two types of weakened blood vessels that typically cause hemorrhagic stroke are aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).
    • Brain Aneurysms- A brain aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel develops a weak area in the wall that allows the vessel to balloon out and fill with blood.
    • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) - AVMs happen when a group of blood vessels in your body forms incorrectly. In these malformations, arteries and veins are unusually tangled.

Mechanical Thrombectomy

When it comes to stroke, “Time is Brain.” That’s because there is a small window of time for treatment to be effective. Most strokes are caused by blood clots plugging a blood vessel or artery in the brain (ischemic stroke). Previously, only the use of medical interventions, such as intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), was available in San Luis Obispo County to treat ischemic stroke patients. tPA works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. With the addition of mechanical thrombectomy, physicians at Sierra Vista are now able to directly remove these clots more quickly and effectively than tPA alone.

With mechanical thrombectomy, trained physicians are able to thread a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the blocked artery in the brain and remove a large blood clot with a stent retriever. Both tPA and mechanical thrombectomy need to occur within a few hours in order to be effective and improve chances for stroke survival and recovery. The use of mechanical thrombectomy at Sierra Vista essentially eliminates the need for emergency air transport.


Stroke Outcomes

Our hospital outcomes are reported to American Heart/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission to ensure quality outcomes. Here are two standards we track:

Average Door to Needle Times

This represents how quickly we are able to provide an intravenous "clot busting" medication for acute ischemic stroke.

Qt. 1Qt. 2Qt. 3Qt. 4

GOAL of 60 min.

Assessed for Rehab

Indicates % of patients who are assessed and receive rehabilitation services while admitted in the hospital with a diagnosis of stroke.

Qt. 1Qt. 2Qt. 3Qt. 4

GOAL of ≥ 75%

(Both of these measures are tracked and graded by American Stroke Association's Get With the Guidelines Quality and Achievement program)

Find a Specialist

For non-life-threatening emergencies, talk with one of our neurosurgeons or neurologists. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911.

More Information