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Warning signs of a strokeA stroke occurs when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die either due to a blood clot or bleeding in the brain. Because every second counts when you have a stroke, where you go for treatment matters.  Tampa General Hospital is a leader in stroke treatment and the only nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center in Hillsborough County.  

TGH is the first stroke center on the west coast of Florida to receive Comprehensive Stroke Certification, the highest national designation, from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, a national certification organization recognized by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  

In addition, TGH is one of just 11 hospitals in Florida, and the only one in the Tampa Bay region, to earn the highest recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines® – Stroke quality improvement program.  TGH earned the STROKE Target: Stroke Honor Roll ELITE PLUS recognition as part of a series of national awards given each year to hospitals that meet quality patient care and outcomes guidelines in heart, stroke, and resuscitation care.

Get with the guidelines logoTime is critical with a stroke. The longer it takes for treatment to occur, the greater the chances of disability or death. It’s important to know the warning signs and to get to a stroke center immediately if you experience symptoms of stroke. Knowing the acronym F.A.S.T. can help you remember the warning signs:

Face: Does the face droop on one side when you try to smile?
Arm: Is one arm lower when trying to raise both arms?
Speech: Can a simple sentence be repeated? Is speech slurred?
Time: Call 9-1-1 immediately if you observe any of these signs.

To schedule an appointment with the Heart and Vascular Institute, call 813-844-3900 or email

Common signs and symptoms of a stroke include:

  • weakness or numbness of the face, leg or arm on one side of the body
  • sudden, severe headache with no known cause
  • sudden loss of vision
  • difficulty talking
  • difficulty understanding what people around you are saying
  • loss of balance, sudden dizziness

Tampa General provides a full spectrum of services for patients experiencing stroke – from aggressive emergency treatment to stop a stroke’s progression through comprehensive rehabilitation.  Tampa General is a state-licensed comprehensive stroke center. Stroke patients benefit from:

  • a dedicated stroke team in-house 24/7
  • advanced neurointerventional treatments available 24/7
  • one of the largest neuroscience ICUs in the country
  • five medical helicopters to transport stroke patients from other facilities to TGH for advanced care
  • specialized inpatient and outpatient stroke rehabilitation programs

The TGH Chest Pain and Stroke Center includes a stroke team comprised of stroke attending physicians, interventional neuro-radiologists, and emergency, laboratory, and radiology staff available 24 hours a day to immediately attend to patients with stroke symptoms. Rapid diagnosis procedures ensure that patients are evaluated and ready for treatment within an hour. Tampa General Hospital's Chest Pain Center has received accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care for achieving a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. TGH's stroke program also offers outpatient services and innovative technologies providing therapeutic services, stroke support groups, education, clinical research and community awareness with our monthly stroke support group and annual stroke retreat.

If you think you are having a stroke, call 9-1-1 and ask to be taken to the nearest comprehensive stroke center. 

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Comprehensive Stroke Certification