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Preventing Secondary Strokes

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Mauricio Concha, MDSARASOTA (Dec. 16, 2013)  – After a stroke, survivors tend to focus on regaining whatever disability or physical limitations are affecting them.

While rehabilitation is a critical part of recovery, taking steps to prevent another (or recurring) stroke should remain one of their utmost concerns, said Mauricio Concha, MD, stroke neurologist and medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Of the 750,000 Americans who have a stroke each year, as many as 14 percent will have a second stroke within a year. Within five years, studies show 24 percent of women and 42 percent of men will have a second stroke.

Even those who have had a seemingly minor TIA (transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke) with no lasting damage are at significant risk of a major stroke, Dr. Concha noted. 

To help prevent those kinds of secondary strokes, Sarasota Memorial opened a new clinic that employs a "best practice" systematic approach to rapidly identify those at risk and provide coordinated treatment, education and follow-up care in an outpatient setting.

“The clinic is designed to provide a comprehensive work-up and initiate treatment to help prevent another stroke or vascular event in the dangerous 48 hours following a first attack," Dr. Concha said. "After the initial evaluation and recommendations, we work closely with patients and their primary care physicians to provide ongoing education and support.” 

Initially, the program team’s focus will be reaching out to people treated in the ER or hospital for stroke, TIA or hypertensive emergencies. They will also coordinate care for patients referred by local healthcare providers and self-referrals. Medicare and most health insurance plans will cover many of the services provided.  

Timely response is key. Among other interventions, the clinic team can help coordinate and provide resources, therapies and support to help patients control hypertension, manage stress and cholesterol levels, stop smoking, make recommended dietary or lifestyle changes and monitor medications they may need, such as blood thinners, to lower their risk of stroke.

“Our goal is to educate, motivate and support patients through what often is a life changing event,” said Jennifer Sullivan, advanced nurse practitioner at Sarasota Memorial. “By providing 1-on-1 counseling, we hope to prevent them from ever having to experience it again.”

Secondary Stroke and TIA Prevention Clinic
1540 S. Tamiami Trail, Second Floor, Sarasota
Clinic hours vary by appointment.
Information: (941) 917-3890

Percentage of Recurrence After First Stroke

  • 3% to 10% 30 Days
  • 5% to 14% 1 Year
  • 25% to 40% 5 Years

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System: Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 800 physicians, 4,000 employees and 800,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services– from urgent care centers and physician groups, to laboratory and imaging centers, home health, rehabilitation and long-term care.

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