Colorado’s first comprehensive stroke center

The Joint Commission, American Heart Associatin, American Stroke Associaation - Comprehensive Stroke Center Colorado

Swedish Medical Center is the first comprehensive stroke center in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region, as named by the Joint Commission, a prestigious national medical accreditation organization. This certification recognizes the advanced technology, staff and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to provide complex stroke care.

We were named as one of America’s Best Stroke Centers by the Women’s Choice Award advisory board. This organization serves as a trusted referral source for women who are searching for highly recommended hospitals, businesses or services. This award is given to hospitals that carry the certification of Advanced Primary Stroke Center or Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission while achieving above average patient recommendation scores.

What is a stroke?

A stroke, or "brain attack," occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off. The cells in the affected area of the brain do not get oxygen and begin to die off. Abilities controlled by the brain, such as muscle control or memory, can be lost. As 30,000 brain cells die each second during a stroke, medical personnel needs to intervene as quickly as possible to stop the stroke and limit any damage.

Many Americans will suffer a stroke, yet most people in the U.S. cannot identify the warning signs of a stroke. It's important to remember BE FAST:

B - Balance: Ask the person if they have balance problems

E- Eyes: Ask the person if they have loss of vision or blurriness in one or both eyes

F - Face: Ask the person to smile, does one side of the face droop downward?

A - Arm: Can the person raise both arms?

S - Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing?

T - Time: Time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Ischemic stroke

Ischemic stroke occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. The clot can also form in another part of the body (often the heart) and become stuck in one of the narrow brain arteries.

Swedish Medical Center is the first advanced care center in Colorado to use the Penumbra MAX™ system of reperfusion catheters to treat ischemic stroke patients faster and more efficiently. This system allows physicians to easily open the affected blood vessels and remove the clot. Many patients are spared the lasting effects of a stroke due to this rapid treatment.At Swedish, we are capable of using the Penumbra MAX™ system with or without the clot-busting drug, tPA.

Hemorrhagic stroke

This type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures. This damage to the blood vessel can occur as a result of uncontrolled high blood pressure, weakened blood vessel walls or an abnormal tangle of thin-walled blood vessels.

Swedish Medical Center is the first hospital in the Denver metro region to offer minimally invasive surgery to remove blood clot from the brain for patients who suffer from intracerebral hemorrhage. Cleared by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, the neuro evacuation device uses controlled aspiration to remove blood and tissue from the cerebrum and ventricular systems of the brain during minimally invasive neurosurgery. This procedure holds the potential to benefit patients suffering from hemorrhagic stroke who typically face limited treatment options.

Providing expert stroke treatment through coordinated care

Our experienced and specially trained team extends to:

Learn how the expert team at Swedish’s stroke center saved Mandy Banks’ life.

Cerebral angiogram

A cerebral angiogram is the study of vessels in the head and neck. A radiologist can perform the following procedures during a cerebral angiogram:

  • Treatment of stroke – removal of clot in the brain
  • Treatment of arterial-venous malformations and vascular malformations
  • Treatment of narrowed vessels by ballooning or stenting
  • Treatment of brain aneurysms

HealthONE Virtual Network

HealthONE Virtual Network is coordinated by HealthONE and Blue Sky Neurology to allow physicians to provide lifesaving exams and treatments for stroke patients across Colorado and parts of the surrounding states.

Telemedicine is technology that enables hospitals to treat stroke patients with immediate consultation from a stroke neurologist. From laptop computers, they can examine patients closely, even focusing in to look at subtle eye movement that can be important in delivering care. Neurologists can read vital signs on bedside computers and talk in real time with the patient, family members and emergency room professionals.

HealthONE also offers an air and ground transport team, AirLife, offering advanced care to stroke patients as they are being transferred between hospitals. Because of this, patients throughout an eight-state region may improve their chances of limiting the effects of stroke.

Stroke support group

Every third Monday of the month from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Joe Niekro Foundation hosts a stroke support group at Life Source Adventist Church, located at 6200 W. Hampden Ave in Denver. If you or a loved one are interested in attending, contact Rebecca Gloyd at (720) 493-3322 or

Learn more about the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado Support Groups.