If you or a loved one show any of the warning signs or symptoms of stroke, call 911 immediately! Stroke is a medical emergency, and the faster you begin treatment the better your chances are of making a full recovery. Calling 911 is important because the paramedics begin collecting information and communicating that information to the hospital the moment they arrive at your door – which saves valuable time when you or a loved one arrive at the hospital.

Not all hospitals are equipped to take care of patients who are having strokes – so paramedics take anyone suspected of having a stroke to the nearest Primary Stroke Center for evaluation and treatment. Arriving at a Primary Stroke Center is key to quick and effective treatment. Every minute counts: almost 2 million brain cells die every minute a stroke remains untreated.

Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital are certified by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems as Primary Stroke Centers, and Holy Cross Hospital has been designated an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. In addition, U.S. News and World Report recognized Holy Cross Hospital as High Performing in stroke care in 2021. That’s why Holy Cross Health hospitals are the best places to go for stroke care in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Our Stroke Rapid Response Team

When a patient arrives with stroke symptoms, we immediately mobilize our stroke team at any time of the day or night for quick evaluation. Who’s on the team?

  • Our stroke team includes a neurologist, a stroke nurse practitioner, a nurse with specialized stroke training, a CT technician and a lab technician.
  • Both the emergency room physician and the neurologist will evaluate the patient, and the team works to swiftly conduct tests including lab work and a CT scan of the brain to find out whether a stroke is causing the patient’s symptoms.
  • The CT scan is painless and enables the team to take a close look at the brain’s blood vessels to check if a blockage or bleeding is cutting off blood flow to any part of the brain.
  • We’ll ask the patient and their accompanying family when symptoms began and how they have progressed. Some treatments are only effective within the first few hours after symptoms appear.

Offering Leading-Edge Technology for Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment

Holy Cross Health has invested in advanced technology to help in the rapid diagnosis and treatment of strokes. Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Germantown Hospital uses RAPID CT perfusion technology to examine the brain’s blood vessels and the area around the stroke to evaluate a patient’s risk of having a second, larger stroke in the future. The scan is done quickly giving the neurologist the information they need within minutes to make the right decision for the patient’s care and for the best possible outcome.

Treatment Options

Patients are evaluated at our hospitals for the full range of stroke treatment options, including:

  • tPA therapy (tissue plasminogen activator) – clot-busting medication
  • Thrombectomy – surgical removal of a clot
  • Endovascular techniques – other minimally invasive options remove clots or stop bleeding in blood vessels in the brain

Learn more about our stroke treatment options.


Patients begin recovery in the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit where a dedicated stroke coordinator ensures patients have what they need throughout their hospital recovery.

A physical medicine and rehabilitation physician evaluates each patient early in the treatment process to develop a recovery plan to help patients achieve the highest level of functioning possible.

Learn more about our recovery from a stroke.

Innovations in Stroke Care

Watch our experts discuss stroke symptoms, risk factors, innovative treatment options, and recovery.

Holy Cross Health presents the information in this blog as a resource for our community. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice or to endorse any particular entity or service. Personal health problems should be brought to the attention of the appropriate health professionals.