Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center
MetroHealth provides the highest level of stroke care available to residents of Northeast Ohio. Our stroke team includes highly qualified emergency doctors, neurologists, neurointerventional radiologists, neurosurgeons and specially trained stroke nurses.
Certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, we offer complete stroke services—from the latest 24/7 emergency treatments to comprehensive stroke rehabilitation.
Every Second Counts
During a stroke, with each minute that passes, about 2 million brain cells die. Getting the right care at the right time can mean the difference between major and minor stroke effects. After the crisis passes, additional care is required for you to recover your health, your abilities and your life.
If you or someone you love is experiencing stroke symptoms, call 911. An emergency medical services (EMS) team will transport you to the hospital. Your care starts when ambulance crews alert the hospital they are en route. When the ambulance arrives, our stroke team will meet you at the door. The primary goal of this rapid assessment is to determine if a clot-dissolving medicine, called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), can be given. This powerful drug can restore blood flow to the brain and reverse the negative effects of a stroke. The time window to give this drug is very small—three hours from the start of symptoms. Rapid transport by EMS is essential.
The time it takes a hospital to give tPA to an eligible stroke patient is known as "door to needle time." In 2021, the median time from arrival to IV tPA infusion was 32 minutes with nearly 40% treated in < 20 minutes.
In addition to tPA, minimally invasive procedures to remove the clots or repair the aneurysms that cause brain bleeding are available 24/7. Neurointerventional radiologists can inject tPA directly to a blockage or extract the clot from the blocked blood vessel to restore blood flow to the brain as quickly as possible.
MetroHealth’s stroke team has earned prestigious American Heart Association/American Stroke Association awards for quality and performance.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
After a stroke, physicians trained in rehabilitation at MetroHealth work to help you achieve the highest level of functioning possible.
Physical therapy starts as soon as you're medically stable. Many stroke survivors transfer from the main hospital to The MetroHealth Institute of Rehabilitation, one of the largest rehabilitation hospitals in Ohio. MetroHealth rehabilitation experts help stroke survivors regain lost abilities through physical, speech and occupational therapies.
Doctors and nurses work together to help you prevent another stroke. This vital education starts in the hospital and continues with your primary care physician. We'll help you control the risk factors that may contribute to another stroke.
Recently, there have been revolutionary advancements in the care of patients presenting with acute stroke.
MetroHealth is a Comprehensive Stroke Center which means that we provide the highest level of acute stroke care to our patients in the Emergency Department and in-patient setting.
This care extends to the outpatient setting, where patients with a variety of stroke types and related conditions are evaluated and treated. The Stroke Clinic provides a team-based approach which centers on collaboration between a specialist stroke physician and stroke - focused advanced practice providers.
Stroke Clinic Leadership
Chair, Department of Neurology
Director, MetroHealth Stroke Programs
Dr. Agnieszka Ardelt was born in Warsaw, Poland and received her medical education at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Her doctoral work was in the area of developmental neuroscience. She completed her Neurology Residency and Neurocritical Care Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
She received an MBA in Healthcare from Loyola University (Chicago). She joined MetroHealth in 2017. Her clinical interests include neurocritical care and cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) neurology. She is a Fellow of the American Heart Association.
Dorothy Hager, APRN-CNP is a board-certified nurse practitioner. She joined Metrohealth in 2020 with several years of neuroscience nursing experience working at the Cleveland Clinic. Her nursing experience includes general neurology, neurosurgery, and cerebrovascular disorders.
She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Master of Science in Nursing in 2019. She is board-certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and licensed with the Ohio Board of Nursing.
Rikki Johnson is a board-certified Adult and Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner who has a strong foundation in general neurology but also specializes in stroke, vascular neurology, and botox therapy for migraines. She has been with MetroHealth since 2015. Her extensive nursing background includes general neurology, neurosurgery, and emergency medicine.
She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. She holds her national board certification with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and is an active member of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
At MetroHealth, we offer several patient-centered research studies focusing on stroke prevention and recovery. Our studies are led by physician experts—some who are known around the world—giving you opportunities to participate in cutting-edge science. Our researchers are testing innovative devices, such as electrical stimulation, to help stroke survivors move a paralyzed hand.
For 14 consecutive years, The MetroHealth System has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
The Gold Plus Award recognizes MetroHealth’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.