Primary stroke center


ETMC Tyler is a Primary Stroke Center

The Joint Commission has awarded advanced certification to ETMC Tyler for its commitment to excellence in stroke treatment and care. This means our physicians and staff members must regularly demonstrate competency in stroke intervention.

The American Heart Association also has recognized ETMC Tyler with multiple achievement awards for successfully using the “Get With the Guidelines” program for stroke, heart failure and coronary artery disease. This involves educational efforts such as the Know Stroke program to teach East Texans about the risk factors and signs of stroke.

Know these stroke facts

  • Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or blocked, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients and causing brain cells to die.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • There are two main kinds of ischemic stroke (caused by blockage of an artery to the brain): thrombotic and embolic. A thrombotic stroke occurs when diseased or damaged cerebral arteries become blocked by a blood clot formed within the brain. An embolic stroke is also caused by a clot in an artery, but the clot is formed somewhere other than the brain.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA), or ministroke, is a neurological event with stroke symptoms that last a brief time and cause no permanent brain damage. See a doctor immediately – one in three people who have a TIA eventually will have a stroke.

Know the risk factors of stroke

Some risk factors are unavoidable, such as being male, having diabetes, being age 55 or older, having a family history of stroke or being African-American. Other risk factors can be controlled:

  • cigarette smoking (doubles the risk)
  • being overweight
  • having high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure
  • having atrial fibrillation
  • lack of physical activity
  • poor nutrition
  • circulation problems
  • excessive alcohol consumption

If you have any of these risks for stroke, call for an appointment with your physician and make a plan to reduce your risks.

content-neuro-hennigan headshot“I call cigarettes stroke sticks because, to me, dying of cancer is scary but being in a situation where you’ve had a stroke and have total loss of independence is even more frightening.”
Allison Hennigan, MD, neurologist and stroke specialist

Know the signs of stroke

Watch for these symptoms of stroke and call 911 immediately if someone you are with experiences them:

  • sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • sudden severe headache with no known cause

content-neuro-ambulanceCall 911 immediately at the first sign of stroke

If someone is experiencing one or more of the above problems, call 911 immediately! Don’t wait, because the longer you do, the more brain damage occurs – and the harder it is for that person to survive and recover.

sidebar-hutchinson-cropped“East Texans face one of the highest stroke mortality rates in our state, and we are working to change that by providing community education that urges individuals to seek care quickly if they show symptoms of stroke, which increases their chance of survival and recovery.”
– Lisa Hutchison, RN, BSN, ETMC stroke coordinator


Make an appointment with your doctor if you are at risk for stroke

ETMC offers a variety of tools to prevent stroke. It starts with diagnostic testing such as the MyHeart First program, which combines seven screenings for heart and vascular diseases in one cost-effective appointment. Call 901-531-8000 and press 8.

ETMC uses the most advanced treatments for stroke

Physicians at ETMC Tyler rely on the latest intervention techniques to treat stroke. The newest weapon in the fight against stroke is the Penumbra system, used by interventional neuroradiologists at ETMC. Using X-ray guidance, a catheter is inserted in the patient’s groin and threaded to the artery in the brain being blocked by a blood clot. A special tool at the end to the catheter breaks up the clot and suctions it away.


Click here to see how the Penumbra system works.

Another stroke treatment is thrombolytic therapy, which uses medications like tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to break up clots. Although not appropriate for all patients (it depends on the patient’s medical history, age and gender), thrombolytic therapy can quickly restore some blood flow to the heart.

In other cases a stent retriever may be used to navigate blood vessels in the brain, find the clot and pull it out. In some patients, a tumor may be applying pressure to block blood flow, and surgeons can use catheters to interrupt the blood flow and starve the tumor.

Still it’s important to remember that treatment must be given quickly. After the onset of symptoms, there are only a few hours of time available to give effective treatment resulting in a good recovery.

ETMC offers a strong program for stroke rehabilitation

Stroke rehabilitation is offered through a coordinated program of education and exercise guided by physical, occupational and speech therapists. ETMC strives to bring services where patients live, reducing travel time and achieving better clinical results by making healthcare convenient.

Each patient receives a customized plan, drawing on these resources:

  • ETMC cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers in Athens, Cedar Creek Lake, Chandler, Henderson, Hideaway Lake, Jacksonville, Lake Palestine, Pittsburg, Quitman, Rusk, Sulphur Springs and Tyler.
  • ETMC Olympic Centers located in Canton, Cedar Creek Lake, Chandler, Hideaway Lake, Jacksonville, Lake Palestine, Mineola, Pittsburg, Rusk, Sulphur Springs and Tyler.