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Stroke System

When Stroke occurs, time lost is brain lost!

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. A stroke happens every 40 seconds. Know the signs of stroke. Think FAST.

The Contra Costa County EMS Stroke System of Care was launched in January of 2012. The system is designed to identify patients suspected of having a stroke and getting those patients to the appropriate hospitals for rapid evaluation and treatment. The system of care is a collaborative approach, with a network of Joint Commission accredited Primary Stroke centers and 911 prehospital providers. Patients identified by EMS as having signs and symptoms of stroke are taken directly to the closest Primary Stroke Center. Contra Costa County also has one Comprehensive Stroke Center that provides services for patients needing more advanced imaging and specialized care.

Stroke: Stroke, sometimes called a ‘brain attack,’ is injury to the brain, spinal cord, or retina caused by blockage or rupture of a blood vessel and/or a reduction in blood flow to the brain. There are two major types of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke: an occlusion in a blood vessel blocks blood flow to the brain, oxygen does not reach the brain and tissue dies rapidly.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: A blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding into or around the brain. Both types of stroke often result in disability and death.

Primary Stroke Center (PSC): A hospital designated by Contra Costa County EMS with rapid stroke capabilities, designed to provide rapid intervention for stroke patients consistent with Primary Stroke Center Certification Criteria of the Joint Commission program. The Joint Commissions program is based on recommendations for Primary Stroke Centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition, American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. For additional information go to

Receiving Centers
Public Education/Resources


Stroke System Medical Oversight:
Senai Kidane, MD
EMS Medical Director
Stroke System Program Manager:
Landee Linn
Prehospital Care Coordinator