Trident Medical Center is a Joint Commission-accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

Trident Health on Pace to Care for More Than 1,000 Stroke Patients This Year

North Charleston, SC - Patients needing stroke care in the North Charleston region now have quicker access to a wider variety of stroke procedures thanks to an expansion of services at Trident Medical Center. The hospital is a Joint Commission-accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

"Many people may not be aware, but more stroke patients in the tri-county region are cared for by Trident Health physicians and clinicians than any other Lowcountry provider," explained vascular neurologist Kathleen Wiese, DO, Trident's Medical Director of Stroke Services. "Last year, nearly 900 stroke patients were cared for at a Trident Health emergency room." Dr. Wiese specializes in stroke care.

Trident Health includes two acute care hospitals - Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center; two freestanding emergency rooms - Moncks Corner Medical Center and Centre Pointe Emergency; and two urgent care centers - CareNow(R) Urgent Care Goose Creek and CareNow(R) Urgent Care North Charleston.

Until recently, a small number of patients whose strokes were caused by a blockage of one of the larger blood vessels in the brain were transported downtown. Now, neuro-interventional physicians are available 24/7 to treat patients at Trident Medical Center who are diagnosed with ischemic strokes caused by large vessel blockages in the brain.

The Medical Director of Trident's Emergency Services Preston Wendell, MD says this is a tremendous advantage to patients, especially considering the region's increasing population and unpredictable traffic. "When you consider brain tissue is being starved of blood during every minute of a stroke it's extremely important to provide patients appropriate care quickly. That's what we're able to do now. Physicians at Trident Medical Center are now able to remove blockages in the brain's large vessels, which can be the most devastating cause of stroke."

Last year's nearly 900 stroke patients who were treated at a Trident Health emergency department marked a nearly 14% increase over the prior year, according to Dr. Wiese. "Unfortunately, we're on pace this year to see nearly 1,000 stroke patients in our Trident Health emergency rooms." The upward trends, adds Dr. Wiese, supports South Carolina's designation as being in the buckle of the country's stroke belt.

The risk factors that lead to stroke are very similar to those that lead to heart disease and diabetes. "Too much salt, too much sugar, too much fat, too high blood pressure and lack of exercise all contribute to these, mainly controllable, serious diseases," explained Wiese. "While we are able to expand access to stroke care we would rather have a healthier population." To that end, Trident is also directing its efforts at community education about stroke, stroke risk factors and risk factor modification. "Ultimately, the best intervention for any disease is disease prevention."

Types of Stroke:

Ischemic Stroke - Occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases.

Hemorrhagic Stroke - Occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke - aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations. But, the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) - Caused by a temporary clot. Often called a "mini stroke", these warning strokes should be taken very seriously.

Trident Health System and Stroke:

Year Total Ischemic TIA Hemorrhagic
2018 Q1 227 134 68 25
2017 892 546 283 63
2016 772 477 231 64