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Stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency where blood flow to the brain is either reduced or stopped, depriving brain tissue of essential oxygen and nutrients. A stroke may cause loss in brain function and affect movement and speech.

Stroke care in Greater Denver

The longer a stroke goes untreated, the more damage it can cause, so we act fast even if you can't.

HealthONE stroke care programs are rooted in the Swedish Neuro Network. This far-reaching family of hospitals offers patient-centered care and specialized emergency and neurosciences teams. It also enables us to offer you some of the region's shortest stroke arrival-to-treatment times.

Expert advice, available 24/7

Free health-related information is just a phone call away. Our nurses help you understand your symptoms, treatment options and procedures. They will also help you find a provider or specialist and schedule an appointment.

Free health-related information is just a phone call away. Our nurses help you understand your symptoms, treatment options and procedures. They will also help you find a provider or specialist and schedule an appointment.

Related specialties

Learn more about our related specialties.

Symptoms of a stroke

Fast medical intervention is critical for stopping a stroke, limiting damage and bettering recovery. Recognizing the following symptoms can make this possible:

  • Balance issues
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Face numbness or weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Limb numbness or weakness
  • Mental confusion
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Paralysis or weak muscles
  • Sudden vision loss

Services we provide for strokes

We help you understand any potential risks for future strokes, while we enable you to fully recover and thrive following a stroke.

Stroke risk factors

Certain risk factors for stroke cannot be changed. For example, you are at higher risk of experiencing a stroke if you are:

  • Genetics and family history
  • Having lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Older age
  • Prior brain aneurysm
  • Race and ethnicity

Stroke prevention

Some ways we encourage stroke prevention is to remind you to:

  • Be consistent with annual health physicals
  • Eat a low fat, low cholesterol diet
  • Get regular checkups for irregular heartbeats
  • Have cholesterol checked yearly
  • If you have diabetes, check blood sugar before each meal and at bedtime to monitor and maintain safe blood glucose levels
  • If hypertensive (suffering from high blood pressure), monitor it daily
  • Increase your exercise
  • Know your family history (hereditary traits)
  • Stop smoking

What happens during a stroke

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops, causing brain cells to die. That is why you may often hear “time is brain” when referring to the need for quick stroke treatment.

Knowing the signs of stroke

Knowing the warning signs of a stroke can help save lives. "BE FAST" is an easy way to remember how to identify and respond if you suspect someone is having a stroke:

  • Balance Are they experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • Eyes Are they having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
  • Face Is one side of the face drooping?
  • Arms Can they raise both arms? Does one drift downward?
  • Speech Are words slurred? Can they repeat back a simple sentence?
  • Time Time is crucial. If you notice these symptoms, call 911.

Advanced stroke care

With The Joint Commission's first Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center and the first Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in the state of Colorado — as well as a Primary Stroke Center — we get you the fast, effective stroke care you need.

AirLife Denver

We also offer AirLife Denver, which provides critical care air and ground transportation across a 10-state region. With 24/7 intra-arterial treatment and advanced imaging capabilities available across all our hospitals, an airlift or ambulance ride can ensure you get the fast and effective care you need.

Stroke Alert Program

Our Stroke Alert Program expedites stroke care in the field. It involves EMS providers notifying our hospital's team members at the first warning of you or your loved one's pending arrival. Once the hospital is informed that suspected stroke patient is on the way, an alert notification goes out to the designated stroke team. This includes the neurologist, the computerized tomography (CT) scan technicians, as well as lab personnel. Together, they assure the scanning room is ready and they can act quickly to diagnose and treat the patient when they arrive.

Stroke telemedicine

Our telemedicine program is currently Colorado’s most expansive telemedicine network. Through it, we offer the region's only network of 24/7 board-certified neurologists, so when you arrive at any of our emergency departments, physicians can quickly reach a neurologist at one of our stroke centers. They can interact with you to make a rapid diagnosis, which can be the difference between life and death.

Artificial intelligence (AI) for detecting large vessel occlusions (LVOs)

LVOs are blockages in the arteries in the brain. Detecting LVOs is a large part of successful stroke treatment because it enables us to get you the right type of care quickly.

We are proud to offer AI LVO detection. This advanced technology automatically reviews your data as your inbound to our hospital. It then alerts our stroke specialists so they are able to begin preparing your treatment before you even arrive to the emergency room (ER).


Stroke treatments

We pride ourselves on providing outstanding care both during and after a stroke. Our diagnostic tests help us determine the exact cause of the stroke, and if we know what kind of stroke you have experienced, we can help prevent any in the future. Treatments for strokes typically can include medications or surgical interventions.

Endovascular thrombectomy

Endovascular thrombectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure that removes the stroke-causing clot and can help you recover with little or no long-term damage. We offer this advanced treatment at many of our hospitals. In fact, Swedish Medical Center was a national pioneer in using this treatment. Then, in 2019, Sky Ridge Medical Center was the first hospital in Colorado to receive The Joint Commission certification as a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center, and is the only hospital in the south metro Denver area to offer this care.

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)

If it has been less than four-and-a-half hours since the stroke began, you may be eligible for a clot-busting drug: tPA. This drug will dissolve the existing clot and restore blood flow to the affected area of the brain. To receive tPA, doctors must deem that the benefits outweigh the risks, and you must meet certain medical criteria.


Stroke and neurological rehabilitation

Our brain injury and stroke rehabilitation programs offer a full range of inpatient and outpatient treatment options to help you regain your independence. Here, our therapists specialize in physical, psychological, occupational, speech and cognitive rehabilitation. This means our highly trained physicians, nurses and therapists are able to help stroke survivors become as independent as possible and attain the best possible quality of life.


Swedish Neuro Network

Swedish Medical Center is a national leader in the area of neurosciences. Featuring clinical depth and a team of experts, combined with unparalleled outcomes, Swedish has become the gold standard in stroke, neurology and neurosurgical care.

The Swedish Neuro Network leverages the quality and capabilities of Swedish with stroke/neuro care at five other HealthONE acute care hospitals for the benefit of patients throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Services are available at:

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We also offer quality care at these other locations in our extended network.
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