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Comprehensive Stroke Center

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center neurointerventional radiologist Dr. Rob Hixson talks about using the B.E.F.A.S.T. acronym to recognize stroke symptoms. 

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is recognized by The Joint Commission, the American Heart Association, and the American Stroke Association as a Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center. This means we’re part of an elite group of health care providers dedicated to complete, highly-specialized care. We have the training, staff, and technology to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. Our physicians are on the cutting edge of stroke medicine, performing clinical trials and procedures not available anywhere else in East Tennessee. Click here to meet our stroke team.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke happens when the blood flow to an area of the brain is interrupted by a blocked or broken blood vessel (vein, artery, or capillary). Blood can no longer travel to the affected area, and cells begin to die. Chemicals are then released that endanger more cells in a larger surrounding area of the brain. Without prompt medical treatment, including diagnostic screening and testing, neurology services, and rehabilitation, this larger area of the brain will also die. The result is lost or impaired mental and physical abilities that were once controlled by your brain. The degree of recovery for each patient is dependent on the amount of brain cells killed.

Did you know there are three basic types and each kind can affect a different part of your brain? They also have unique warning signs and symptoms, and can result in different outcomes.

Symptoms – B.E.F.A.S.T.

Here is a simple test to look for symptoms. Don’t forget time is important! 

Call 9-1-1


Is the person uncoordinated and having difficulty walking?


Ask the person if they have double or blurred vision.


Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?


Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?


Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Is the sentence repeated correctly?


If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important.

Warning signs and symptoms of stroke.
Click this infographic for important warning signs and symptoms.


Time lost is brain lost, so it’s important you understand the warning signs and how to reduce your risk. 


Fort Sanders Leads the Region’s Only Stroke Network

As a Stroke Center of Excellence, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center provide highly-specialized care for stroke patients.Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is part of Covenant Health, the only network of stroke hospitals in East Tennessee, which all lead back to one. When patients need a higher level of care, they are transported to our hospital.

3 out of 4 patients who receive treatment for a stroke at Fort Sanders Regional walk out of the hospital. 

We’ve also received two stroke accreditations from the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). These designations recognize our dedicated medical team, excellent nursing and therapy services, and state-of-the-art diagnostic screening, testing, treatment, and rehabilitation. 

Comprehensive stroke centers like ours are recognized as industry leaders and are responsible for influencing the importance of  highly-specialized care across the nation.

Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center

And only Fort Sanders Regional is home to the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center (PRNC), East Tennessee’s elite rehabilitation hospital for stroke, spinal cord and brain injury patients. PRNC is our region’s only stroke rehabilitation center accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Learn More

For more information, click the links in the sidebar on this page or call (865) 673-FORT.

Patient Stories

  • One Woman, Two Strokes

    Keith Woodward, MD, a neurointerventional radiologist at Fort Sanders Regional, performed a thrombectomy on Epperson to remove the clot that caused the stroke.

  • Continuum of Care

    Rodhouse benefitted from an incredible continuum of care, and in the space of a few hours transitioned from being a stroke patient to a heart patient, all at the same hospital.

  • Tele-Connection

    Morristown patient benefits from collaborative care through FSRMC and Covenant Health’s stroke hospital network

  • Going Beyond the Limit

    Tammy Brooks arrived by helicopter at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at least 24 hours – maybe even several days – after suffering an acute ischemic stroke.

  • WATE-TV: East Tennessee man survives one of the deadliest types of stroke

    A local man survived the type of stroke that normally kills 80 percent of its victims. He’s doing so well, he just moved to Europe and is enjoying life to its fullest. It’s been three and a half years since Ken Harrawood suffered a stroke. It hit while he was driving to Y-12 for his first day of work with Bechtel. He now lives in Manchester, England.

  • WATE-TV: Technician who works with stroke patients becomes one himself

    Adam Hill gets the tools in place for the next life-saving surgery in the interventional radiology lab at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. As lead tech, Hill knows this place like the back of his hand. He never dreamed he’d be a patient receiving treatment here, suffering from a ruptured aneurysm, like so many patients he’s helped treat.