Mohawk Valley Health System Highlights Area’s Only Stroke Center with Comprehensive Capabilities for National Stroke Awareness Month


May is National Stroke Awareness Month and the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is spotlighting its Stroke Center with Comprehensive Capabilities at the St. Luke’s Campus – the only one in the Mohawk Valley. The Stroke Center has continuously received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite for its commitment and success in providing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.


The Stroke and Neuro Endovascular Program excels in patient care due to its partnerships with Midstate Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Emergency Department (ED), Radiology, Critical Care Services and other hospital departments who support patients in their journey. With stroke, immediate treatment is critical to prevent loss of function. The Stroke Team uses standardized and timely protocols to ensure that stroke patients are diagnosed quickly and are treated within 60 minutes of arrival in the ED. Therapies including clot busting TPA and catheter-based interventional stroke rescue are available locally at the St. Luke’s Campus.


The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the number and complexity of strokes.


“Although typically considered a lung infection, COVID-19 has shown to increase the tendency to form blood clots which can lead to severe strokes,” said Varun Reddy, MBBS, MVHS Stroke and Neuro Endovascular Service Line Director. We see this phenomenon in patients regardless of age or traditional risk factors, and even in those with few or no symptoms. People with COVID-19 as young as 30s are experiencing strokes even when symptoms were mild.


“The addition of this complication from the COVID-19 pandemic makes it vital for the community to remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms of stroke and seek treatment as quickly as possible – when it comes to stroke, time is brain. We are aware, due to the current situation, that people are hesitant to seek medical attention. However, the importance of treating a stroke as quickly as possible cannot be emphasized enough.  MVHS is taking every measure possible to ensure the safety of those needing care – from restricting visitors and instituting blitz cleaning throughout the facility, to screening, taking temperatures and providing masks to all those entering our buildings.”


Stroke signs and symptoms can be remembered by using the acronym FASTER:

  • FACE – Uneven smile. One side of the face droops or is numb.
  • ARMS – One are drifts down when raising both or is weaker and more numb than the other.
  • STABILITY – Dizziness. Hard time keeping balance. Trouble walking. Loss of coordination.
  • TALKING – Slurred words. Unable to speak. Hard time being understood or understanding speech.
  • EYES – Difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes. Double vision.
  • REACT – Call 911 immediately! Call even if symptoms go away. Remember when symptoms first began.


“Strokes are treatable and preventable; seeking treatment for them should not be postponed regardless if it is unclear the symptoms are stroke,” said Angelina M. Roche, RN, BPS, CNRN, SCRN, CPHQ, Stroke Program clinical coordinator. “Call 911 and come to the Stroke Center at the St. Luke’s Campus right away even if the symptoms improve or resolve altogether. It is important to find out what caused the symptoms and to have it treated so a full-blown stroke can be prevented.”

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