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Why Choose a Comprehensive Stroke Center?

Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification Matters

Comprehensive Stroke Center Designation Doesn't Come Easily

California Health Leaders, featuring Bob Carter, MD, PhD, and Thomas Hemmen, MD, PhD

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Alexander Khalessi, MD

Every 45 seconds, someone in the United States experiences the destructive effects of a stroke. Learn about how the UC San Diego Comprehensive Stroke Center is there in your time of need.

A Comprehensive Stroke Center is a hospital that has specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases. The certification recognizes the significant resources in infrastructure, staff and training necessary to provide state-of-the-art complex stroke care.

UC San Diego Medical Center is one of the first five certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the nation.

While there are over 900 primary stroke centers in the nation, there are only a handful of Comprehensive Stroke Centers. Meeting the standards to achieve this certification reflects UC San Diego’s commitment to providing and developing the highest quality stroke care.

Comprehensive Stroke Center designation means more than effective care processes; it means that patients with a brain hemorrhage or stroke have better outcomes with lower procedural complications than at other hospitals.

Our Comprehensive Stroke Center:

  • Is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of experts including neurologists, neurointensivists, neurosurgeons, cardiologists and rehabilitation therapists, 24/7/365 with rigorous response times
  • Has a dedicated neuro-intensive care unit for neuro-critical care for complex stroke patients
  • Has a complete sub-specialty of neurovascular and endovascular surgeons for the treatment of aneurysms, AVMs and other causes of hemorrhagic stroke
  • For blockages of major brain arteries in the most severe strokes, our team can restore blood flow to the brain with leading-edge catheter devices.
  • Beyond interrupting the initial stroke, our team of experts can determine the underlying cause of stroke and undertake secondary prevention with the following:
    • Carotid endarterectomy
    • Carotid artery stenting
    • Balloon angioplasty
    • Cerebral coiling for embolization
    • Flow diversion
    • Surgical clipping procedures
    • EC-IC bypass
  • Uses highly advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies to provide tailored therapy for each individual patient
  • Exceeds intravenous tPA administration rates in all eligible patients
  • Conducts ongoing clinical trials to improve and advance stroke treatment and prevention

The Bottom Line on Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification


Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and disability in the United States. San Diego is no different. UC San Diego Health System is the one place for the treatment of these complex conditions. This capability extends beyond the classic stroke patient. Stroke remains the most feared complication of a broad range of other medical interventions. Comprehensive Stroke Center certification offers a safety net for complex forms of medical care.