Don’t let a stroke mean the end of your independence and quality of life. The stroke team at the HCA Midwest Health Neuroscience Institute at Research Medical Center offers comprehensive, advanced care and treatment to minimize the effects of stroke, help you recover your health and functioning, and make the most of your capabilities so you can get back to your life.

Elite Stroke Treatment in Kansas City
Research Medical Center is home to the Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center designation. See how this benefits our patients.

Research Medical Center was the first Certified Primary Stroke Center in the region and has received Get With the Guidelines® - Stroke recognition from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for five straight years. The award recognizes our commitment and success in meeting a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Stroke Warning Signs - FAST!

  • Facial weakness
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech slurred
  • Time is Critical. Call 911!

Stroke is an emergency. Don’t take chances. Call 911 if you or a loved one has signs of stroke. Do not drive yourself, and get to the nearest emergency room.

ER Locations

What are the Symptoms of Stroke?

Symptoms can depend on the part of the brain where cells are dying. Classic symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion
  • Trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
  • Sudden vision problems in one or both eyes

Women may not always have the classic signs of stroke, so their symptoms can be mistaken for something else. Women’s symptoms can be vague and can include:

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • General weakness
  • Difficulty or shortness of breath
  • Confusion, unresponsiveness or disorientation
  • Sudden behavioral change
  • Agitation
  • Hallucination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Hiccups

Recover From a Stroke and Prevent Another One

After a stroke, you may need surgery to help prevent another one. Our specialists are skilled at surgical techniques for stroke, including:

  • Carotid endarterectomy. This surgical procedure clears plaque from the carotid arteries, the two large arteries in your neck that supply blood to the brain.
  • Carotid angioplasty and stenting. This procedure is used to widen narrow the carotid arteries so that blood can flow more freely to the brain.
  • Extracranial/intracranial bypass. This surgery connects a blood vessel from outside the brain to a vessel inside the brain to reroute blood flow around a damaged or blocked artery.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery. This advanced technology can remove abnormalities from the blood vessels in the brain. Learn more about stereotactic radiosurgery.

As you recover from your stroke, we can draw from all the resources of Research Medical Center to help you heal and live as fully and independently as possible. Therapy and other services can help you reclaim your life after a stroke. You may benefit from:

  • Physical therapy (PT). Physical therapy helps you regain as much movement as possible.
  • Occupational therapy (OT). Occupational Therapy OT helps you make the most of your capabilities and complete everyday tasks and self-care more easily.
  • Speech therapy. Speech therapy can help you improve swallowing and speech challenges.

Whatever your needs after a stroke, we’ll help you get the right care and services to help you have the best possible outcomes and future. We’ll also make sure you and your family have the information and resources you need to cope with the challenges you may be facing as you return to your daily life.

A stroke happens when poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. It only takes a few minutes for cells to start dying, so time is critical. A stroke is a medical emergency that can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death.

There are two types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is by far the most common and happens when an artery that supplies blood to part of the brain becomes blocked, often by a blood clot. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures. The pressure from the leaked blood damages brain cells. High blood pressure and aneurysms are often the cause of hemorrhagic stroke.

If blood flow to part of the brain is only temporarily blocked, the result is transient ischemic attack (TIA) or “mini-stroke.” The Neuroscience Institute provides comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and care for TIA, and will take steps to help prevent strokes in your future.

Your risk for stroke is higher if you:

  • Have high blood pressure
  • Smoke
  • Have a lot of fat around your abdomen
  • Have diabetes
  • Are not physically active
  • Have an unhealthy diet
  • Have more than 30 drinks per month
  • Have heart disease
  • Are depressed or under great stress
  • Have migraine headaches
  • Women may be at higher risk if they:

  • Are pregnant
  • Take birth control pills
  • Use hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Time is critical. The most effective treatments for reversing stroke must be provided very soon after a stroke — within no more than three hours — in order to be effective.

The HCA Midwest Health Neuroscience Institute at Research Medical Center has a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke. No matter when you come to the emergency room, we have specialists to provide brain scans and neurologists to evaluate you and use clot-busting medicines or other measures when you need them.

When you come to us showing signs of a stroke, our specialists will quickly perform:

  • Neurological exams
  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG). This test records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle.
  • Brain and blood vessel imaging. Imaging techniques may include:
    • Computed tomography (CT) – a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the brain
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the brain
    • Ultrasonography – a test that uses sound waves to examine the brain

Depending on your situation, you may also need:

  • Arteriography (angiography). This procedure uses a catheter placed in a blood vessel in the groin and threaded up to the brain to show arteries in the brain
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). MRA shows brain blood vessels by mapping blood flow
  • CT angiogram (CTA). CTA uses a CT scanner and can give images of the blood vessels inside the brain after a dye is injected into the veins
  • Functional MRI. This technique shows brain activity by picking up signals from oxygenated blood
  • Doppler ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to show narrowing of the arteries supplying the brain and evaluates flow of blood in brain
  • Echocardiography. This test uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape and motion of the heart to show if the clot comes from one of the heart's chambers

If you are found to be having a stroke, our team will immediately take steps to stop it, by removing or dissolving the blockage for ischemic stroke or stopping the bleeding causing a hemorrhagic stroke.

For ischemic stroke, the team may be able to remove a blood clot or other blockage with the MERCI or Penumbra mechanical device. Our team is trained and experienced in using these devices quickly and effectively.

You may need to take medicine, such as:

  • Clot-dissolving drugs given within three hours intravenously (IV) or intra-arterially (IA) within six hours
  • Blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants)
  • Antiplatelet drugs

You may also need drugs to:

  • Control blood pressure
  • Reduce the chance of more clot formation
  • Reduce brain swelling
  • Correct irregular heart rhythm

We will also make sure you have enough oxygen and take steps to prevent choking. We’ll perform frequent neurological evaluations to assess your condition and take more steps if needed.

Many organizations and agencies are working to help those affected by stroke and to improve stroke prevention and care. Here are some online resources that can help you learn more and find services and support:

Research Medical Center Stroke Center

Designated by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and by the State of Missouri as a Level 1 Time Critical Diagnosis Center of Excellence, Research Medical Center’s Stroke Center treats more than 1,200 stroke patients each year from the Kansas City area and surrounding regions. Also a regional leader in medical research and treatment for temporary or “mini-stroke” called Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), we cared for an additional 154 TIA patients in 2017.

Research Medical Center Exceeds Standards for Quality and Safety:

  • Earned the highest rating for spine surgery from CareChex Quality Rating System, based on a number of outcomes measures including overall mortality, overall complications, overall all-site readmissions, inpatient quality indicators, patient safety indicators and patient satisfaction measures. We are a leading site nationally for stroke coiling and clipping to treat hemorrhagic stroke and aneurysm.
  • Research Door to Treatment Time: 31 minutes, nearly two times as fast as the national median where 94% of patients are treated within 60 minutes.
  • Hospital with the fastest door to needle time for delivering tPA, the clot-busting drug for patients with ischemic stroke.
  • Innovators in stroke medical research and regional education.
  • 18 regional hospitals are connected to Research via robotics for quick telestroke patient diagnosis and treatment.

2017 Stroke By The Numbers:

  • RMC patients are more likely to be treated with the clot-busting drug tPA Research administers tPA 15% of the time, while the national rate is 13.2 percent.
  • 0% of our patients treated with tPA experienced intracranial hemorrhage complications compared with the 6% national rate.
  • Our interventional radiologists and neurosurgeons performed 231 cerebral angiograms and 41 aneurysm clippings respectively for our patients experiencing stroke, and 16% of our patients received endovascular treatment.
  • 97 of our stroke patients were diagnosed and treated for intracranial hemorrhage stroke.
  • 50 patients were diagnosed and treated for subarachnoid hemorrhage type of stroke.
  • Our surgical complication rate is 0% for hemicraniectomy, a procedure used to relieve increased intracranial pressure in certain patients with hemorrhage-type stroke.
  • Our stroke specialists performed recanalization of occluded brain arteries in 41 stroke patients, and treated an additional 34 stroke patients with recanalization and tPA to successfully preserve brain functioning.
  • 0% post-surgical infection rate.

2017 Stroke Outcomes:

Our stroke volume and outcomes data is publicly reported according to the Comprehensive Stroke Center requirements.

Type of Stroke RMC 2017
Code Stroke Alerts 590
Ischemic Stroke 1,208
Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH) 97
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH) 50
TIA 154

Ischemic Stroke Treatment RMC 2017
tPA administrated 55
Endovascular Recanalization 41
Endovascular Recanalization & tPA 34
Average Door to treatment time 31 min*

* Rapid treatment with IV tPA has been demonstrated to improve recovery after stroke. Joint Commission goal door-to-treatment is under 60 minutes, greater than 50% of the time.

Comprehensive Stroke Center Procedures RMC 2017
Cerebral Angiograms 231
Aneurysm Clipping 41

Stroke Treatment Cases RMC 2017 National Region
tPA* 15% 13.2% 17.8%
Endovascular Treatment 16% 2.7% 4.6%

* Percentage of patients treated with IV tPA at RMC (or via telemedicine and transferred to RMC for higher level of care).

Nonsurgical Complication Rates RMC 2017 National Region
Bleed rate after tPA 0.0% 3%2.8%

Surgical Complication Rates RMC 2017
Hemi-crani cases 0%
Infections 0%