The stroke services are divided into two areas, a nine bed hyperacute stroke unit (HASU) situated on C neuro, within the Wessex Neurological Centre, and a 28 bed stroke rehab unit situated on F8 on F level in the West Wing.
For inpatient referrals, please contact our advanced stroke nurse practitioners on their bleep 1592 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hyper-acute stroke management
The hyper-acute stroke team provide a rapid assessment service 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure all stroke patients are assessed and managed by our specialist team, as soon as possible after admission. This often involves being aware of potential stroke patients before they arrive by communicating directly with paramedic crews.
The specialist multidisciplinary team on call comprises:
- specialist stroke nurses
- consultant stroke physicians
- consultant neurologists
- interventional neuroradiologists
The hyper-acute stroke team also provide a stroke thrombolysis (clot busting) service and mechanical thrombectomy (a surgical procedure to remove blood clots from an artery) for eligible patients. By working with neuroradiologists and neurosurgical teams, they can provide access to more interventional treatments if required, ensuring that patients have access to the best services possible.
Acute stroke management
Following admission to the stroke unit, the team aims to:
- Assess the type of stroke by performing a CT brain scan soon after admission. The CT scan may show evidence of an ischaemic stroke (blockage of an artery in the brain) or a haemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain). Patients are often taken straight to the CT scanner as soon as they arrive in hospital.
- Investigate the cause of stroke in every patient by assessing lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and exercise. They also look for evidence of diabetes and raised cholesterol levels with a blood test and will perform a heart tracing (ECG) to look for signs of an irregular heartbeat and underlying heart disease. They also organise an ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries, if appropriate, to ensure that there is no blockage or narrowing of the arteries which may contribute to stroke disease. In some cases a heart scan (echocardiogram) or further brain scans such as an MRI may be requested.
- Commence a number of different medications in order to reduce further brain damage and decrease the risk of further strokes. These medications may include blood thinning tablets (aspirin, clopidogrel or direct oral anticoagulants such as dabigatran or apixaban or warfarin), cholesterol lowering medication such as atorvastatin, or blood pressure lowering tablets such as amlodipine or Ramipril.
- Assess your rehabilitation and recovery needs. Our multidisciplinary team will thoroughly assess and develop a rehabilitation plan and list of goals which will be discussed with both you and your family.
- Assess swallowing. Some patients have difficulty swallowing following a stroke which usually improves with time, but may need to take a modified diet or in more severe cases, a nasogastric tube (tube passed through your nose into your stomach) to provide you with liquid nutrition.