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In the late 1960s, the University of Mississippi Medical Center initiated one of the first stroke-focused units in the United States because we recognized the need for specialized care. In 2008, UMMC opened an acute care stroke unit—combining leading-edge technology, expertise, and specialty care—at University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Today, UMMC Stroke Center provides highly coordinated stroke care delivered with expertise. The center participates in the Mississippi State System of Care as a state-designated stroke center. The center is supported by state-of-the-art technology and facilities, including a six-bed dedicated stroke unit, and a 20-bed neurosciences intensive care unit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strokes affect 795,000 people each year in the United States. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and the number one cause of long-term physical disability, such as paralysis, speech difficulties, and emotional changes.

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Parts of the brain become damaged or die. Although risk increases with age, strokes can happen at any age. Nearly 25 percent of strokes occur in people under the age of 65 nationally, but in Mississippi, that number is nearly double.

Quality stroke care

American Heart Association: 2022 Get with the Guidelines. Gold Plus. Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite. Stroke Award.In recognition of its quality stroke care, UMMC Stroke Center has received the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association's (ASA) "Get With the Guidelines" - Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award. The award honors the UMMC Stroke Center for commitment to providing stroke patients with rapid diagnosis and treatment according to the latest evidence-based standards and guidelines.

UMMC's stroke center provides rapid diagnosis and treatment with brain imaging scans, neurological evaluations, clot-busting medications, and surgery when needed. The continuum of care continues with aggressive medical care and rehabilitation followed by education and prevention measures to help patients reduce the risk of a second stroke.

As part of its rapid response protocol, the University of Mississippi Medical Center has medical helicopters ready to transport patients when time is a critical factor. 

Certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center

Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval

Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center

The Joint Commission (opens in new window)



Stroke related interventional procedure outcomes

  • Less than 1% complications for diagnostic angiograms

Strokes strike fast

On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and someone dies of a stroke every four minutes. About 5,000 Mississippians experience their first stroke each year and more than 1,500 die, according to the Mississippi Department of Health.

When a stroke happens, it is important to recognize the symptoms, call 911, and get to a hospital quickly for emergency treatment.

Learning the symptoms of stroke—and acting fast when they occur—can help save your life or that of a loved one. Call 911 immediately.

Common symptoms

Common stroke symptoms for men and women include:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Women may experience unique symptoms, including:
  • Sudden face and limb pain.
  • Sudden hiccups.
  • Sudden general weakness.
  • Sudden chest pain.
  • Sudden shortness of breath.
  • Sudden heart palpitations.

B.E.F.A.S.T when stroke occurs

Use the B.E.F.A.S.T. test to help recognize stroke symptoms:

  • B – Balance. Does the person have a sudden loss of balance? 
  • E – Eyes. Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes? 
  • F – Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • A – Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S – Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
  • T – Time. If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 911.

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