About Our Stroke Program
Excellence in Stroke Care
The ChristianaCare Stroke Program includes services at Christiana Hospital, Wilmington Hospital, and the freestanding Middletown Emergency Department. All three facilities have been awarded by The Joint Commission, a national certifying organization. Christiana Hospital has been recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, the most advanced level of expertise in stroke care by The Joint Commission. Wilmington Hospital has been awarded as a Primary Stroke Center. Middletown Emergency Department has been awarded as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. Our program provides 24-7 availability of expertise in stroke care including neurologists, neurosurgeons, and neurointerventional radiologists. For patients who arrive within a few hours of the start of stroke symptoms, we offer a full range of emergency treatment options including medications and advanced surgical techniques to restore blood flow to the brain and prevent further brain injury.
Our expert physicians staff both The Lanny Edelsohn, M.D. Neuro Critical Care Unit, an 18-bed specialized intensive care unit for patients critically ill from severe stroke, and the 22 single bed Stroke Treatment and Recovery (STAR) unit, where patients prepare to leave the hospital and resume a healthy life. Nurses specially trained in stroke care work with patients and their families to maximize recovery in both the Neuro Critical Care and STAR units.
Patients are evaluated and treated by rehabilitation teams skilled in physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapies. We address each patient’s specific, individual needs for maximum recovery, and focus on patient and family goals in addition to the latest medical therapies for stroke. Dedicated case managers and social workers assist in the transition from the hospital to the next step in recovery. After leaving the hospital, expert consultation and continued care is provided by vascular (stroke) neurologists and rehabilitation specialists in the office setting.
Advanced treatment for stroke
The care team of the ChristianaCare Comprehensive Stroke Program offers our patients the most advanced stroke treatment options.
In stroke treatment, time lost is brain lost. One standard treatment for stroke due to blockage of blood flow is a clot dissolving medication (intravenous alteplase). The faster you are treated with this medication, the more likely you will remain independent after a stroke. In 2020, patients who arrived at ChristianaCare emergency department sites received this medication on average within 25 minutes of arrival, which is faster than the average goal time of within 30 minutes set by the American Stroke Association. More than 90% of eligible patients received this medication within 30 minutes of arrival. Calling 9-1-1 at the first sign of a stroke will help Emergency Medical Services and the ChristianaCare Stroke Team to work together to treat a stroke as quickly as possible.
For some severe strokes, when a very large blood vessel is blocked, a second treatment option is a mechanical thrombectomy. This minimally invasive procedure involves physical removal of the blood clot from the blood vessel within the brain itself. When this procedure is performed at Christiana Hospital, our neurointerventional surgeons are able to successfully remove the blood clot and restore blood flow well above 89% of the time. (In technical terms, TICI 2b/3 reperfusion during mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke this year to date.) We collaborate with other hospitals in the region to offer this service when needed to all stroke patients throughout our community, regardless of where you live.