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May 29, 2020

The Stroke Center of Watauga Medical Center was recently recognized by the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines® program and awarded the Silver Plus and Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll quality designations for 2019.

A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. Brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. Abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost, i.e. speech, movement and memory. How a stroke patient is affected depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.

Time is of the essence in treating stroke patients, and the most important factor in successful treatment is early intervention. Watauga Medical Center Emergency Department staff are trained to recognize the signs of stroke and spring to action immediately to implement stroke treatment protocols.

The acronym BE FAST can help people recognize the signs of stroke and quickly get the help needed.

Balance: Sudden loss of balance and coordination
Eyes: Sudden trouble seeing, or blurred vision in one or both eyes
Face: One side of the face droops or is numb
Arm: Sudden weakness or numbness of any arm or leg
Speech: Sudden Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
Time: Call 911 immediately, and note the time symptoms started

Through the Telestroke program, patients have 24/7 access to acute stroke experts via two-way real time video consultation. Thanks to this network, emergency room physicians are able to receive on demand consultation to help diagnose strokes, develop care plans, and take action if necessary.

Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll quality designation from the American Heart Association certifies that stroke patients receive Intravenous Thrombolytic Therapy within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital – 30% quicker than the national average.

In order to receive the Silver Plus quality award, Watauga Medical Center met or exceeded 15 criteria set forth by the American Health Association covering early and thorough treatment, patient education, follow-up treatment and more.

The Stroke Center at Watauga Medical Center is also certified by The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center following a detailed, on-site re-certification review of the hospital in March 2019. The certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care.

For more information about stroke services at Appalachian Regional Healthcare system, visit

Emergency Entrance

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