The neurovascular unit (NVU) is a unit specialized in the management of acute strokes. It provides 24/7 emergency care for stroke patients.
This unit is composed of a multidisciplinary medical and paramedical team, trained for managing strokes: doctors trained in neurovascular disorders, nurse coordinators, nurses, nurse aides, physiotherapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists.
The initial management of ischemic strokes begins upon admission to the hospital and aims to reopen the clogged vessel as quickly as possible.
Two main approaches are possible in order to restore cerebral blood flow:
- Intravenous injection of a drug to dissolve the clot (thrombolysis) that should be administered within less than 4 hours and a half after the first signs of a stroke.
- Endovascular treatment, alone or in combination with intravenous therapy, is recommended for treating a cerebral infarction within 6 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms in patients with proximal occlusion of cerebral arteries. It involves searching directly in the patient’s brain for the blood clot causing the stroke.
After going through the Emergency Department, stroke management takes place in the neurovascular unit and has several main goals:
- Monitor and neurologically stabilize the stroke patient
- Avoid early complications following the stroke
- Determine early complications following the stroke
- Determine the cause of the stroke
- Initiate the appropriate treatment to prevent new vascular events
- Start the rehabilitation program as soon as possible