The Region’s Only Stroke Hospital Network

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. The hospital emergency department staff and EMS personnel work together to identify stroke patients who require treatment within a narrow time window.

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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, the leader of our stroke hospital network and our region’s first comprehensive stroke center. 

Physicians at Fort Sanders are on the cutting edge of stroke medicine, performing clinical trials and procedures for stroke not available anywhere else in East Tennessee.  Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have given Fort Sanders the highest designation a hospital can receive for stroke care.

And only Fort Sanders 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.

Together, the stroke hospitals of Covenant Health lead the region in halting and reversing the devastating effects of stroke.

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. To learn more about the two types of strokes, watch the videos below:

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.

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

  • Face: 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

Warning Signs of Stroke

  • One-sided weakness, numbness, or paralysis
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Difficulty speaking and understanding speech
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sudden severe or unexplained headache
  • Call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention immediately if you think you may be having a stroke.

The hospitals and medical facilities of Covenant Health have a variety of programs to help you lead a healthier, happier life, including smoking cessation, fitness programs, and stroke support groups.

For information on these and other programs, contact us at 865-541-4500.

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With as much good as TAVR surgery does, I don’t know why anybody who’s having problems wouldn’t do it.

Roy Ogle, Covenant Health’s First TAVR Patient


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Dr. Riedel saved my life. He was the one who made the call, just for peace of mind, to do that heart cath. The hospitals are just the best I’ve ever been in, I’ve never had a bad experience.

Chris Tatum, Covenant Patient

Heart Catheterization

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Cardiac rehab at Fort Sanders Regional Hospital has helped strengthen my heart and helped renew my spirit.

Jessie Hood, Covenant Patient

Cardiac Rehabilitation

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