Stroke is South Carolina's sixth biggest killer.

  • 2,880- The number of people who died from stroke in South Carolina in 2020.
  • 16,577 - The number of hospitalizations for stroke in South Carolina in 2020.
  • $1.3 billion - The total hospitalization charges due to stroke in South Carolina in 2020.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is an emergency! A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death.

A stroke happens in one of two ways: a blocked artery or a ruptured artery.

Spot a Stroke Graphic - BE FAST

Warning signs of a stroke:

  • 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

Act Fast. Call 9-1-1!

  • If you think you're having a stroke, call 9-1-1 right away - not a friend.
  • Calling 9-1-1 is the best way to get to the hospital.
  • Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin life-saving treatment immediately.
  • You're likely to receive faster treatment at the hospital if you arrive by ambulance.
  • Never drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless you have no other option.
Red, black and white Signs of Stroke Graphic

Stroke: What Increases Your Risk?

Several factors make it more likely you will have a stroke: 

  • High Blood Pressure is the strongest predictor of a stroke. Someone with high blood pressure has a much greater chance of stroke before age 80. 
  • Older age: Although stroke can occur at any age, the risk doubles every decade between the ages of 55 and 85. 
  • Race: Blacks and Hispanics are more prone to stroke. 
  • Smoking can lead to blood clots and raise blood pressure. 
  • Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), also known as mini-strokes. 
  • Physical Inactivity &/or being obese. 
  • Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol 
  • Stroke and heart disease share many risk factors. Over time, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, not getting enough exercise, and being overweight, can cause changes in the heart &/or blood vessels that can lead to stroke and other cardiac events. 
  • Certain conditions, including atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and heart valve disorders, can result in clots breaking loose and blocking blood supply to the brain.

Reduce Your Stroke Risk: 

Why choose a hospital with a designated Stroke Center?

Stroke is a medical and/or surgical emergency. Governing bodies verification and designation requirements set strict requirements, to include standards, clinical practice guidelines, and performance measurement for staffing of resources and specialists, response times, training, performance improvement and stroke prevention activities at stroke centers.  Stroke centers have dedicated and organized stroke teams that respond promptly.  The Stroke Medical Director (A physician responsible for stroke care) and Stroke Program Director are responsible to ensure compliance with the requirements, and for carrying out all activities associated with the stroke program. Hospitals that are not designated as stroke centers may have, and be staffed by, an emergency room physician but not have organized teams led by physicians trained in interventional neurological or surgical procedures to manage ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. These facilities focus on evaluation, stabilization, and transfer to an appropriate facility for further care.

South Carolina Stroke Centers

The following is a list of stroke centers are based on the level of designation.

 SC Stroke System of Care 2024

Comprehensive Stroke Centers

These facilities can meet concurrently emerging needs of multiple complex stroke patients. The CSC will provide support for all South Carolina hospitals as a referral source for high level neurological critical care, medical, interventional, surgical capabilities, and stroke research. 

  • Prisma Health Upstate (Greenville)
  • Prisma Health Midlands (Columbia)
  • Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston)
  • Grand Strand Regional Medical Center (Myrtle Beach)

Thrombectomy- Capable Stroke Center (TSC)

These facilities do all that Primary Stroke Centers do, plus have the tools and the expertise to perform mechanical thrombectomy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove a blood clot from an artery. These centers also have neurointensive care and 24/7 on-site critical care coverage primary Stroke Centers The only difference in this and a Comprehensive Stroke Center is that the CSC has ongoing stroke research.

  •  Lexington Medical Center (Columbia)
  •  Trident Medical Center (North Charleston)

Primary Stroke Centers (PSC)

Ability to care for patients with acute ischemic stroke; Rapid assessment, imaging, and able to administer intravenous thrombolytic therapy.

  • Aiken Regional Medical Center (Aiken)
  • AnMed Health Medical Center (Anderson)
  • Beaufort Memorial Hospital (Beaufort)
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital Eastside (Greenville)
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown (Greenville)
  • Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital (Charleston)
  • Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center (Hartsville)
  • Coastal Carolina Hospital (Hardeeville)
  • Conway Medical Center (Conway)
  • East Cooper Medical Center (Mount Pleasant)
  • Hilton Head Hospital (Hilton Head Island)
  • McLeod Regional Medical Center (Florence)
  • MUSC Health Florence Medical Center (Florence)
  • MUSC Health Lancaster Medical Center (Lancaster)
  • Piedmont Medical Center (Rock Hill)
  • Prisma Health Baptist Easley Hospital (Easley)
  • Prisma Health Baptist Hospital (Columbia)
  • Prisma Health Greer Memorial Hospital (Greer)
  • Prisma Health Hillcrest Hospital (Simpsonville)
  • Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital (Clinton)
  • Prisma Health Oconee Memorial Hospital (Seneca)
  • Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (Charleston)
  • MUSC Health (Orangeburg)
  • Roper Hospital (Charleston)
  • Self Regional Healthcare (Greenwood)
  • SRHS Spartanburg Medical Center (Spartanburg)
  • SRHS Pelham Medical Center (Greer)
  • Summerville Medical Center (Trident Health Summerville)
  • Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital (Georgetown)
  • Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital (Murrells Inlet)

Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals

These facilities are equipped to treat stroke patients with timely, evidence-based care prior to transferring them to a Primary, Thrombectomy Capable, or Comprehensive Stroke Center. 

  • Bon Secours St. Francis Emergency Center (Simpsonville)
  • Colleton Medical Center (Walterboro)
  • Hampton Regional Medical Center (Varnville)
  • McLeod Health Loris (Loris)
  • McLeod Health Seacoast (Little River)
  • Prisma Health Baptist Parkridge (Columbia)
  • Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital (Summerville)
  • Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital (Mount Pleasant)
  • SRHS Cherokee Medical Center (Gaffney)
  • SRHS Mary Black (Spartanburg)
  • SRHS Union Medical Center (Union)
  • Tidewatch Freestanding Emergency Department (Bluffton)

For more information regarding the South Carolina Stroke System of Care, please contact the DHEC EMS Division at 803-545-4958.
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South Carolina Support and Rehabilitation Services Links

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