In 2019, Grand Strand Medical Center received certification from DNV GL - Healthcare as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, reflecting the highest level of competence for treatment of serious stroke events.

Stroke Care Videos

This designation demonstrates that Grand Strand Medical Center is in full compliance with the most up-to-date guidelines and medical advances for stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or mini strokes.

Research has shown that patients who are treated at a designated stroke center have improved life expectancy and decreased disability.

Our stroke program offers a streamlined approach to stroke care, with utmost priority given to acute stroke patients. Our Emergency Department is able to provide immediate assessment, evaluation and the appropriate intervention. Getting treatment as soon as possible after stroke symptoms begin is crucial to preventing and reversing permanent brain damage and resulting disability.

As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Horry, Georgetown and Brunswick county residents and visitors can get the care they need close to home and not waste valuable time traveling farther for care after their stroke symptoms begin. Grand Strand Medical Center strives to meet and exceeds national standards for acute stroke care with a multidisciplinary group of specialists involved in your care.

Diagnosis & Treatment

There are two main types of stroke. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, it is called an ischemic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs if a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into or around the brain.

Patients brought to Grand Strand Medical Center with stroke symptoms are evaluated in our Emergency Department. Evaluation for stroke includes:

  • CT scan of the brain
  • Blood work
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG
  • Swallow studies

It is important that anyone experiencing symptom call 911 rather than driving to the hospital. EMS personnel can communicate with the hospital en route and EMS patients are transported immediately to CT scanner.

Patients who are diagnosed with an ischemic stroke, and whose stroke symptoms began within the previous 3-4.5 hours, are offered tPA, a clot dissolving drug, if appropriate to help restore blood flow to the brain.

Patients diagnosed with a hemorrhagic stroke may be taken to surgery or to our intensive care unit for monitoring.

Our Stroke Team

Patients who need hospitalization are treated on our dedicated stroke unit. This unit is staffed by nurses who have received additional training in stroke care. These nurses teach all patients about follow up care, stroke prevention and lifestyle modification before they leave the hospital. Our stroke team includes caregivers from:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Interventional Neuroradiologist
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Radiology
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Nursing
  • Laboratory
  • Case management

Our multidisciplinary team is committed to promoting functional return to daily activities. All stroke patients are evaluated for indications of need for physical or speech therapy.

Stroke Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Excessive Alcohol use
  • Physical inactivity & obesity
  • Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heart beat)
  • Family history of stroke

Stroke Warning Signs — Act FAST!

Stroke is an emergency. Time wasted before seeking treatment can translate to brain cells lost and can increase the chances of a poor outcome. For tPA to be effective, it must be given within four hours of the onset of symptoms. Call 911 immediately if a person is experiencing any of these symptoms:



B is for Balance: Does the person have a sudden loss of balance?


E is for Eyes: Has the person lost vision in one or both eyes?


F is for Face: Does the person's face look uneven?


A is for Arms: Is one arm hanging down?


S is for Speech: Is the person's speech slurred?


T is for Time: Call 911 now!

Call 911 immediately! Time is Brain!

What Live Your Healthy Means to Me

Hear from our Stroke Coordinator, Heather James, about what drives her to help others.