Stroke Center
Jeffrey Kramer, MD
Chief of Neurology
Medical Director, Stroke Center

To learn more about our comprehensive stroke program, call 312.567.2600

Warning Signs of Stroke
Call 9-1-1 Immediately

Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Severe and unusual headache

Stroke Center

Stroke Center

When it comes to stroke, seconds matters. A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Because brain cells immediately begin to die when deprived of oxygen and nutrients, restoring blood flow as quickly as possible is essential. Early treatment can mean the difference between life, death and permanent disability.





There are two kinds of stroke. The most common, ischemic, occurs when a blood clot forms and clogs a blood vessel in the brain. The other, hemorrhagic, occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

Each year about 700,000 Americans have a stroke, or brain attack. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability among U.S. adults. Stroke claims the lives of about 7,000 Illinois residents each year.

Stroke can strike anyone, but is most common in people over age 55. African Americans and anyone with a history of stroke are also at higher risk. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history of stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet

Some of these risk factors, like your race or family, are out of your control. But many others are controllable with lifestyle changes and medication. In fact, 80 percent of strokes could be prevented, according to the National Stroke Association. Learn more about how you can reduce your risk for stroke.

To pinpoint your own risk for stroke, Mercy offers a Heart and Stroke Screen Plus. The Heart and Stroke Screen Plus utilizes sophisticated, non-invasive technology and includes an examination of the carotid (neck) arteries. Blockages in the carotid arteries are a leading cause of stroke. Learn more about the Heart and Stroke Screen Plus.

Because successful treatment depends on fast treatment, it’s important to know and recognize the signs of stroke, and then seek emergency care. Common signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden headache

If you or someone you love is experiencing stroke symptoms, call 911 or seek immediate medical treatment at Mercy’s Emergency Center.

Mercy offers the latest, most advanced treatment in a highly specialized environment. Our multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to stroke care ensures that patients receive the right intervention at the right time, and all care is delivered by experienced experts in a compassionate and personalized setting.

From the moment a stroke patient enters Mercy’s Emergency Department, Mercy follows a detailed treatment protocol, including a “Fast Track” program that ensures patients requiring immediate attention receive it in an expedited and calm manner.

All Emergency Center staff is trained to recognize the signs of stroke and to implement Mercy’s advanced stroke treatment protocol, and there is a neurologist on-call 24 hours a day to guide treatment of stroke patients. If a person is identified as a stroke patient, a CT is performed to determine the type of stroke and, subsequently, the best course of treatment.

Often, clot-busting drugs can dissolve blood clots and successfully restore blood flow to the brain. When additional intervention is required, Mercy’s top team of surgeons utilize the latest minimally invasive techniques and procedures to restore and improve blood flow. If a blockage in the carotid artery is detected, Mercy offers a pioneering, non-invasive stenting procedure to clear the blockage and reduce risk of stroke.


Pioneering Research
To ensure that our patients receive the most up-to-date care, Mercy participates in numerous clinical studies. If you seek stroke care at Mercy, you may be a candidate for one of several new early-treatment-options, including:

TPA, a clot-busting drug that can minimize the effects of stroke if administered within three hours of the onset of symptoms.

TPA allows a four and a half-hour window from the initial onset of stroke symptoms to successfully treat the clot you or a loved one experience the signs and symptoms of a stroke, get to the Emergency Department for treatment as soon as possible!.


Rehabilitation and Follow-up Care
After a stroke, Mercy’s comprehensive stroke care continues on the Stroke and Rehabilitation Unit. Our multidisciplinary team—which includes rehabilitation nursing, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology, social workers, spiritual care, care partners and physicians—collaborates to develop an individualized plan for each patient.

Once a patient is discharged and sent home, our unique care continues in the form of a stroke survivor support group, outpatient therapy and a variety of stroke prevention programs.

If you or someone you love is experiencing signs of a stroke, you want to be treated in a place that can offer sophisticated care as quickly as possible. Certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), the Mercy Stroke Center offers an advanced treatment protocol that provides fast and accurate diagnosis and treatment of stroke.

From the Emergency Department through Rehabilitation, Mercy patients receive best-practice care from an experienced, multidisciplinary team of stroke experts. And that means a better chance for survival and recovery.

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