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UNM Hospital’s Stroke Program is New Mexico’s the only stroke center with the resources to treat all aspects of cerebrovascular disorders. The UNM Hospital is the only hospital in the nation to receive the American Heart Association’s highest certification in both stroke and cardiac programs.

Stroke is the nation’s No. 3 cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted by a clot (ischemic stroke) or blood vessel leakage (hemorrhagic stroke). Deprived of oxygen, the brain begins to die, causing disabilities such as paralysis, vision and language problems and possibly death.

UNM neurosurgeons, neurologists and neuro-critical care specialists work together to provide comprehensive stroke management. When patients present with stroke symptoms, the team quickly obtains brain images that can distinguish ischemic from hemorrhagic stroke.

Based on the findings from a CT scan, doctors may decide to deliver tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). In some situations local physicians prefer to deliver the tPA and then transfer the patient to a higher level of stroke care.

Intra-arterial blood clots removed from the brain’s interior is now the Standard of Care for large vessel occlusion.  This kind of high intensity care is only available at UNMH on a 24/7 basis for the State of New Mexico.