scroll to top of page

Neuroscience and Stroke

Covenant Health is the only stroke hospital network in East Tennessee, which means no matter where you live, stroke care is always nearby. Each hospital in our network has the advanced diagnostics needed to diagnose stroke and the ability to administer tPA, a medicine that breaks down stroke-causing blood clots. Our hospital emergency department staffs and EMS personnel work together to identify stroke patients and provide treatment within a narrow window of time.


Fort Sanders Leads the Region’s Only Stroke Network

When patients need a higher level of stroke care, they are transported to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, our region’s only comprehensive stroke and rehabilitation center.  The hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center certification means Fort Sanders Regional has the infrastructure, staff, and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. And physicians at Fort Sanders Regional are on the cutting edge of stroke medicine, performing clinical trials and procedures for stroke not available anywhere else in East Tennessee.  


Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center

And only Fort Sanders Regional is home to the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center (PRNC), East Tennessee’s elite rehabilitation hospital for stroke, spinal cord and brain injury patients. PRNC is our region’s only stroke rehabilitation center accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.


Advanced Primary Stroke Centers

Fort Loudoun Medical Center, LeConte Medical Center, and Parkwest Medical Center have earned designations as Advanced Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This means these hospital underwent rigorous onsite review and successfully passed criteria for clinical stroke care. For patients, the designation means a higher level of stroke care with access to advanced technology and innovative treatments.


Patient Testimonials

Alline Little

When suffering a stroke, the paramedics told Little they were taking her to Fort Sanders Regional. After undergoing successful treatment, she says, “The paramedics said Fort Sanders Regional was the best for treating strokes. I’d read that on billboards, but I believe it now. We definitely believe it.”

Brenda Lee

Quick access to Fort Loudoun Medical Center, an advanced primary stroke center, gave Tellico Plains resident Brenda Lee immediate access to a stroke diagnosis and specialized interventional care at Fort Sanders Regional.

Adam Hill

When interventional radiologist Keith Woodward, MD, repairs an aneurysm, Adam Hill stands beside him and hands him the instruments. But  Hill, who works in the Fort Sanders Regional interventional radiology lab, learned what it’s like to be the patient when he experienced a brain aneurysm.

Jim Cogdill

Stroke patient regains mobility and function through three weeks of therapy at Patricia Neal.


What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted by a blocked or broken blood vessel. When a stroke occurs, it kills brain cells in the immediate area. When the brain cells die, they release chemicals that set off a chain reaction that endangers brain cells in a larger surrounding area of brain tissue. Without prompt medical treatment, this larger area will also die. When brain cells die, the abilities that area of the brain controls are lost or impaired. The degree of recovery depends on the amount of brain cell death.

Types of Strokes

  • Ischemic strokes. These are strokes caused by blockage of an artery (or, in rare instances, a vein). About 87% of all strokes are ischemic.

  • Hemorrhagic stroke. These are strokes caused by bleeding. About 13% of all strokes are hemorrhagic.

Warning Signs of Stroke

There is a quick acronym to remember the warnings signs of stroke: FAST.

Fast: drooping on one side

Arm: trouble moving arm or leg on one side of the body

Speech: difficulty speaking or understanding what someone is saying

Time: call 911 immediately for immediate help

How Do I Prevent Stroke?

There are several steps you can take to prevent stroke. The first is to know your risk for having a stroke. A stroke assessment will help you identify steps you may need to take to lower your risk level. There are also several prevention guidelines to help you guard against the possibility of stroke.