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A stroke is the loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the brain’s blood supply. It causes an incredible 2 million neurons to die every minute. That’s why time is so critical after someone has a stroke.

Since every second counts, the UF Health Comprehensive Stroke Program team can mobilize around the clock to diagnose and stabilize stroke patients, minimizing the risk of permanent disability and preserving quality of life.

How common are strokes?

In the United States, about 800,000 people suffer from strokes every year, and nearly a quarter of strokes occur in people who have had one before. It is the leading cause of acquired physical disability in American adults, and the fourth leading cause of death. Northeast Florida is on the southeastern edge of a region referred to as the “Stroke Belt,” where strokes are most common in the U.S.

A stroke can be caused by ischemia, which is the lack of blood flow commonly due to a clot, or a hemorrhage from burst or bleeding blood vessels in or around the brain. Maintaining control over high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol — and keeping them under control — will greatly reduce your chances of having a stroke. Smoking is also a risk factor.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

Warning signs of a stroke

Some signs someone is having a stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or difficulty understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

A stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. If you experience any of these signs, call 911.

Ann Webb’s severe headache was the beginning of a stroke.

Ann Webb initially dismissed her headache, but what started as a minor inconvenience, turned out to be the first sign of a stroke. Once in the care of the UF Health Comprehensive Stroke Program, Mrs. Webb underwent advanced imaging and a thrombectomy to remove three clots. Despite some damage to her brain tissue, her recovery was remarkably swift, and she regained her speech and mobility within days. 

The UF Health Comprehensive Stroke Program, led by neurologist Scott Silliman, MD, provides integrated care, utilizing leading-edge treatments such as clot-busting drugs and interventional procedures. Dozens of staff members from multiple divisions contributed to Mrs. Webb's care, ensuring the best outcomes for her treatment and recovery. Her experience underscores the importance of recognizing unusual symptoms like rare but severe headaches as potential signs of stroke. The UF Health Comprehensive Stroke Program emphasizes the urgency of seeking medical attention when experiencing stroke symptoms, stressing that early intervention greatly impacts outcomes.

Steve Rhyne’s stroke symptoms started with numbness in his right arm.

Steve Rhyne, a middle-aged Jacksonville man, never expected to have an acute ischemic stroke. But when he did, he was fortunate to be rushed to the hospital quickly enough to receive the “clot buster” drug, IV-tPA, at the UF Health Comprehensive Stroke Center in Jacksonville, Florida. The stroke survivor shares his personal story.

Stroke: Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?

The UF Health Comprehensive Stroke Program provides inpatient and outpatient services for the diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of stroke patients. Such integrated and sophisticated care is important because research shows that patients improve faster and recover more completely when managed in a dedicated stroke facility.

Our program has received accreditation from the Agency for Health Care Administration as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Our approach features state-of-the-art methods for the treatment of stroke, such as the clot-busting drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) and interventional procedures. An interdisciplinary team of University of Florida physicians and specially trained UF Health Jacksonville staff includes experts in neurology, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, neuroradiology, emergency medicine, medical intensive care and rehabilitation services. The program also encompasses educational and support group programs for stroke patients.

UF Health Jacksonville's air transport saves lives

UF Health Jacksonville was among the first hospitals in the nation to use an air emergency service to transport stroke patients. Prompt transport by TraumaOne helicopter to the UF Health Jacksonville Comprehensive Stroke Program can improve a patient's outcome by decreasing medical complications and lowering the risks of mortality. Stroke patients in Duval County and 12 surrounding counties (including Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union, Camden and Chariton), as well as Camden County, Georgia, benefit from this rapid transport service.

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High Performing in Stroke Care

In 2023, U.S. News & World Report recognized UF Health in Jacksonville as high performing in the care of patients with stroke.

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Community and Patient Programs: Stroke

Our community and patient programs provide great value to patients, families and loved ones. People can find support, educational materials, expert consultants and more. In most instances, these programs are offered free of charge.

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News and Patient Stories: Stroke

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