Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Few conditions occur as rapidly and with as devastating consequences as stroke. Data from the American Stroke Association indicate that nearly 800,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year. Of these, about 600,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. Further, the annual cost to our health care system is in excess of 70 billion dollars.
About 4.5 million stroke sufferers are alive today. Through innovation of diagnostic technologies, advanced treatment, improved management of stroke risk factors, implementation of cutting edge acute stroke treatments, and improved rehabilitation strategies, there is new hope for persons who have had a stroke or who are at risk of having a stroke. The UF Health Shands Hospital Stroke Program is dedicated to preventing, diagnosing, and treating strokes, providing the latest technology and medications, and treat the stroke patient’s entire needs. Care is coordinated from the first point of contact with the patient, whether through the emergency department, the Stroke Program’s inpatient or outpatient services, or the rehabilitation ward. The Stroke Program, has brought together a multidisciplinary team of neurologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, critical care physicians, emergency department physicians, rehabilitation specialists, nurse specialists, and pharmacists who have a special interest and expertise in stroke and cerebrovascular disease.
The program has received accreditation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center from the Joint Commission (TJC) as well as the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and is the only center with this elite recognition for the higher quality stroke care in North-Central Florida. While many centers are concerned mainly with managing acute stroke, the UF Health Shands Hospital Stroke Program’s state-of-the-art acute stroke management protocols, guided by the principles of the American Heart/Stroke Association, Brain Attack Coalition, and Joint Commission, focus on aggressive prevention of future stroke with a combination of medications and changes in lifestyle, and maximum recovery. By decreasing the risks for stroke, the program improves quality of life and helps give peace of mind.