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Neurological Conditions

Epilepsy | Headache | Movement Disorders | Multiple Sclerosis

Neuromuscular Disorder Program | Sleep Disorder Program | Stroke | Child Neurology


A stroke or brain attack occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When a brain attack occurs, brain cells usually die within minutes to a few hours after the stroke starts.  A TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms that last for a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less 10-20 minutes, although they may last longer. Unlike stroke, when a TIA is over, there's no injury to the brain. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce one’s risk of a major stroke.
Both stroke and TIA are considered to be medical emergencies. Five most common stroke and TIA symptoms are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of 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

Call 911 if you see or have any of these symptoms. The only currently FDA approved treatment for acute stroke MUST BE GIVEN within 3 HOURS of the start of symptoms! Educating the public to treat stroke as a brain attack and to seek emergency treatment is crucial because every minute lost, from the onset of symptoms to the time of emergency contact, cuts into the limited window of opportunity for intervention.

South Carolina has one of the highest stroke death rates in the country. The University of South Carolina has resolved to build a premier stroke center in the Midlands area. Building such a stroke center would benefit the people of South Carolina, providing much-needed stroke care to mitigate the high rates of death and disability from stroke. Through the support of the Center of Economic Excellence Program and the Palmetto Health Richland Hospital we hope to build a stroke center capable of meeting this challenge. I am proud to say that we have assembled a multi-disciplinary team of experts required to provide advanced stroke care. The Stroke Division we have established as the first step towards creating a Stroke Center that serves South Carolinians by providing high-quality comprehensive stroke care, educating patients and health care providers in the state, and conducting cutting-edge research in stroke care and prevention.

USC Palmetto Health Stroke Center

The clinical home of the Division is the Stroke Center, a multidisciplinary program that incorporates state-of-the-art approaches in caring for patients with stroke and TIA (Transient Ischemic Attacks or mini-strokes). The Stroke Center's multidisciplinary care approach utilizes the expertise of Stroke Neurologists, Interventional Neuroradiologists, a Neurointensivist, a Neurosurgeon and other physicians and staff with expertise in the treatment of stroke and TIA.

Acute stroke care is provided to medically eligible patients by an on-call Acute Stroke Team.  The Stroke Team is available 24/7 and coordinates acute treatments, such as intravenous thrombolysis and interventional procedures such as MERCI, Penumbra and Intra-arterial thrombolysis.  State-of-the-art neuroimaging, such as CT angiogram and MRI, is used to screen patients who may be eligibile for such treatment. The Team also screens patients for inclusion in clinical studies and trials of the latest experimental stroke therapies.

The USC Palmetto Health Stroke Center is spearheaded by - Drs. Souvik Sen (Neurologist), Blease Graham (Interventional Neuroradiology), Sharon Webb (Vascular Neurosurgery) and William Owens (Neurointensivist)– and a Stroke Center Coordinator, Kelly Hawsey RN.  Acute stroke trials are coordinated through the Clinical Trial Department of the Palmetto Health Richland Hospital. Stroke prevention clinical trials/studies are coordinated by Roxanne Poole, BS.  

Stroke Clinic

Outpatient post-stroke care and stroke prevention referrals are accepted in the University Specialty Clinic.  The clinic provides many services, including:

  • Evaluation of Stroke/TIA risks and causes.
  • Evaluation and management of carotid stenosis and intracranial stenosis -for possible medical and interventional management.
  • Education and information regarding stroke prevention
  • Management of post-stroke deficits and complications

We hope you find this website helpful in your health and medical care decisions. Please contact us 803-545-6050 with any questions or to request assistance with an appointment.

View Measures to Lower Your Risk for Stroke