Stroke Overview

A stroke occurs when a blood clot in a carotid artery (or another vessel that provides blood to the brain) or a hemorrhage in the brain damages brain cells by starving them of oxygen. Because time lost means brain lost, it is vital for anyone thought to be experiencing this condition to receive prompt and comprehensive care. Tampa General Hospital provides a full spectrum of emergency interventions and follow-up treatments as the only comprehensive stroke center in Hillsborough County and the first on Florida’s west coast to receive Comprehensive Stroke Certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. Tampa General also received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Recognizing stroke symptoms is the first step to ensuring proper care, and the quicker treatment is provided, the lower the chance of permanent disability or death. Remembering the acronym F.A.S.T., and what each letter in the abbreviation means, can be helpful for identifying common warning signs:

  • (F) Face drooping – People whose brains are being deprived of oxygen will frequently feel one side of the face suddenly go numb or weak. This symptom can be detected by asking someone to smile and noting if one side of the face begins to droop.
  • (A) Arm weakness – One side of the body often becomes suddenly weak or numb during a stroke. For that reason, someone suspected of having a stroke should be asked to lift both arms in the air. If one arm drifts downward, it may indicate the onset of the condition.
  • (S) Speech problems – Someone experiencing a stroke may slur their words. Asking a person to repeat a simple sentence could help detect this symptom.
  • (T) Time to call 9-1-1 – It’s vital to get the person experiencing any of the above symptoms to a hospital as soon as possible.

Tampa General is a state-licensed comprehensive stroke center offering patients with a wide range of services to patients. We have the capability to properly diagnose ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, provide aggressive emergency treatment to stop their progression, and follow up with inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services. Our in-house stroke team is available 24/7 to provide specialized, advanced neurointerventional treatments – all in one of the largest neuroscience ICUs in the nation. We even have medical helicopters available to transport patients referred from other facilities so they can receive the high level of care we can provide.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1 and ask to be taken to your nearest comprehensive stroke center. For many people in the Tampa Bay area, that will be Tampa General Hospital.