Pikeville Medical Center’s Primary Stroke Center is among the top stroke treatment centers in KY. Our goal is to deliver the most effective care with cutting edge technology. Our Stroke Center aligns with the mission of PMC to provide world-class health care in a Christian environment.

Dr. Naveed Ahmed, a Board-Certified Neurologist and Stroke Specialist, is Medical Director of PMC’s Primary Stroke Center. The hospital’s neurology staff also includes Neurologist Dr. Ryan Owens, and Neurosurgeons Dr. Norman Mayer and Dr. George M. Ghobrial. In addition, Physiatrists (physical medicine specialists) Dr. Milton Calima and Dr. Sankar Chirumamilla help stroke patients recover through physical rehabilitation.

To provide patients with quality care, PMC works with Emergency Medical Service providers from across the region to ensure acute stroke care starts from the moment of patient contact.

PMC’s Emergency Department is highly trained for immediate identification of early stroke symptoms and equipped to provide intervention. The hospital has assembled a Stroke Team which has been trained to respond to stroke emergencies and provide expert neurological care.


PMC awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

PIKEVILLE — Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) announced that it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations. PMC has received this honor for eight consecutive years.

The hospital recently underwent a rigorous onsite review during which experts from The Joint Commission evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements. This included program management, the delivery of care and performance improvement.

“Pikeville Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of stroke patients through its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers,” said Wendi J. Roberts, RN, executive director, Certification Programs, The Joint Commission. “We commend Pikeville Medical Center for becoming a leader in stroke care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for stroke patients in its community.”

“We congratulate Pikeville Medical Center for achieving this designation,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “By adhering to this very specific set of treatment guidelines, Pikeville Medical Center has clearly made it a priority to deliver high quality care to all patients affected by stroke.”

PMC officials were pleased to once again receive Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers.

“Pikeville Medical Center is pleased to receive advanced certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association,” said Dr. Naveed Ahmed, PMC neurologist and medical director of the Primary Stroke Center. “This award is a great honor and is only possible thanks to the dedication of our stroke team and continued support of PMC’s administration.”

Established in 2003, Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers” (JAMA, 2000) and the “Revised and Updated Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers” (Stroke, 2011).

On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

PMC Stroke Center Logo

What is a Stroke?

what_is_a_strokeStroke is a disease that affects the arteries of the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing blood and oxygen to the brain becomes blocked or ruptured and brain cells don’t receive the blood needed. Deprived if oxygen, nerve cells can’t function and die within minutes. The part of the body those cells control can’t function either.

The devastating effects of stroke are often permanent since dead brain cells can’t be replaced. The degree of disability depends on the size of the stroke and location in the brain.

Types of Strokes


Most strokes are ischemic, caused by a lack of blood supply to part of the brain.


A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when the brain ruptures an artery. Brain cells beyond the rupture are also deprived of blood and damaged. High blood pressure is the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke. The constant force of high blood pressure can weaken blood vessel walls, resulting in bleeding in the brain or brain hemorrhage.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

  • A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.
  • The symptoms for a TIA are the same as for a stroke, but appear for a shorter period of time (several minutes to 24 hours) and then disappear.
  • A TIA indicates a serious underlying rick that a stroke may follow.
  • About one-third of all people who have suffered a stroke have experienced a TIA previously.
  • Medical attention and evaluation are needed immediately.

After the underlying cause of the TIA are determined, medication, surgery or lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of having a fatal or disabling stroke.

PMC Stroke Center Logo

Risk factors for stroke

Brain graphicKnowing your risk factors is the key to prevention. You can learn about your risk factors by having regular medical checkups. Some rick factors can be changed or treated. It is critical for those who have experienced a stroke or TIA to manage risk factors and be compliant with prescribed medications. The rick of a stroke is 10 times greater in patients who have already had a stroke or TIA than it is in those who have never experienced one.

What risk factors can I change or treat?

  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Carotid or other artery disease
  • TIAs
  • Atrial fibrillation or other heart disease
  • Certain blood disorders
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Physical inactivity and obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Illegal drug use

What are the risk factors I can’t control?

  • Increasing age
  • Gender
  • Heredity
  • Race
  • Prior Stroke

What can I do to control my risk factors?

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Quit smoking
  • Control diabetes
  • Be physically active
  • Ask your physician about narrowing of the carotid artery (asymptomatic)
  • Reduce alcohol use
  • Do not use illegal drugs
  • Manage stress
  • Monitor heart disease with your physician
  • Fight obesity
  • Avoid high cholesterol

To lower your cholesterol you should:

  • Eat a low-fat, low cholesterol diet
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and grains
  • Eliminate or reduce meat intake, particularly red meat
  • Eat only lean cuts of red meat
  • Limit whole eggs to no more than two to three times a week
  • Choose dairy products made with skim milk or low-fat milk substitute
  • Reduce your saturated fat intake
  • Use monounsaturated oils (such as canola, olive or peanut) or polyunsaturated oils (such as corn, sunflower or soybean) instead of saturated fat (butter and lard)
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils
  • Exercise regularly

If your blood cholesterol level does not improve with lifestyle changes alone, your physician may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication.

PMC Strock Center Logo
ACT F.A.S.T. to increase recognition and response to stroke symptoms


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

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

SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
Does the speech sound slurred of strange?

TIME: If you observe any of these signs, it is time to call 911.
Go to the nearest emergency department immediately for treatment.




PMC Stroke Center Logo

Effects of a Stroke

  • Uncontrolled crying and/or laughing
  • Slow adjustment to new things
  • Bowel & bladder control problems
  • Sexual concerns
  • Intermittent distress
  • Major depression
  • Grief
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Disturbed sleep or appetite

Severity of Physical Effects depends on the following:

  • Type of Stroke
  • The extent and location of the damaged brain cells
  • How well the body repairs the blood supply to the brain
  • How quickly other areas of the brain tissue take over the work of the damaged cells

When a stroke occurs, it usually takes place in a single area in one hemisphere.


A stroke in the left hemisphere affects the right side of the body and a stroke in the right hemisphere affects the left side of the body.

PMC Strock Center Logo

To diagnose a stroke, information on the type of stroke, source of the stroke and location of the brain injury is needed.

Once in the emergency room, your doctor or stroke emergency team may do the following:

  • Inquire about your medical history
  • Perform a physical and neurological exam
  • Conduct laboratory (blood) tests
  • Perform imaging tests on your brain


PMC Strock Center Logo

Where can I learn more?

Mayo Clinic > Diseases & Conditions > Stroke

American Stroke Association’s “Warmline”: 1-888-4-STROKE (1-888-478-7865)


Strokes of Support: www.strokecenter.org

Stroke support groups in Pike County: 218-1046

For a free publication for stroke survivors and caregivers:

Stroke Connection Magazine: 1-888-478-7653

Stroke Smart Magazine: 1-800-787-6537

CDC Stroke Education:

Types of Stroke

Stroke Conditions

Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Stroke Facts

Stroke Awareness

    • APRIL 30, 2021
    May Is Stroke Awareness Month

    May Is Stroke Awareness Month

    Many patients in Eastern Kentucky experience unexplained symptoms that can often be treated by a neurologist. These specialized physicians treat disorders that affect the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Signs can be subtle and often blamed on other problems, and as a result, go untreated.  These can include muscle weakness,

    Read more
    • APRIL 30, 2021
    PMC Neurologists Bring Awareness to Unseen Problems

    PMC Neurologists Bring Awareness to Unseen Problems

    Stroke is a leading cause of death in the United States and is one of the primary causes of disability among adults, according to the CDC. Each year, an estimated 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke, with about 610,000 of these being first or new strokes. The good news is that strokes are

    Read more
    • OCTOBER 9, 2020
    PMC First in Region to Use Advanced Software to Identify Stroke

    PMC First in Region to Use Advanced Software to Identify Stroke

    Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) is the first hospital in Eastern Kentucky to use new, advanced software powered by artificial intelligence to help identify certain types of strokes even quicker than before. The software, powered by Viz.ai, is linked directly to PMC’s CT scanner, which uses rotating x-ray machines to create detailed images of the inside

    Read more
    • SEPTEMBER 3, 2019
    Watchman Procedure Reducing Stroke Risk for Afib Patients

    Watchman Procedure Reducing Stroke Risk for Afib Patients

    According to the American Heart Association, at least 2.7 million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is a quivering of the heart, or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots. People with AFib are at a significantly increased risk of stroke due to clot formation within the heart.   The Pikeville Medical

    Read more
    • JUNE 10, 2019
    Patient Credits Faith and PMC for Helping Him Walk Again

    Patient Credits Faith and PMC for Helping Him Walk Again

    Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and the fifth leading cause of death, according to the American Heart/American Stroke Association. However, about 80 percent of strokes are preventable. Unmanaged high blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors that can lead to stroke. Last February, Gilford Hall, 56 of Wheelwright Ky,

    Read more
    • MAY 8, 2019
    PMC Awarded at Stroke Conference

    PMC Awarded at Stroke Conference

    Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) Primary Stroke Center Medical Director Naveed Ahmed, MD, accepted the Outstanding Achievement Award at the International Stroke Conference in Hawaii, on behalf of the hospital. Together, with American Heart/American Stroke Association Quality and Systems Improvement Director Cynthia Keely, they presented the award to CEO Donovan Blackburn and the PMC Board of

    Read more
    • OCTOBER 17, 2018
    PMC Awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

    PMC Awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

    Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) announced that it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations. The hospital has held this prestigious

    Read more
    • AUGUST 31, 2018
    Record-Breaking Stroke Symposium

    Record-Breaking Stroke Symposium

    The Pikeville Medical Primary Stroke Center has added many feathers to its cap over the years. But this year, the Stroke Center has come full circle by appointing Trauma Director, Sandy Tackett, RN, as the interim Stroke Program Coordinator. Tackett has been with the hospital for over 20 years. Her experience includes serving as Stroke

    Read more

I would like to take this time to welcome you to PMC’s Stroke Support Group page. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability, affecting someone in the United States every 40 seconds. This means, on average, 788,400 Americans will suffer from a stroke in one year alone.

Our goal for this group is to provide support for patients, family, friends, and caregivers who are dealing with the after-effects of a stroke and stroke recovery. Stroke affects more than just the patients, and we here at PMC would like to extend a helping hand to those who may need us, despite their role. To me, this is much more than a profession, but rather a work of heart stepping into the lives of my patients, watching them recover and thrive.


Latest Support Group Posts:


October 2021

After a stroke, you may realize that a lot of your lifestyle habits may need to change in order to decrease your risk for another stroke.  It can be easy to become overwhelmed by all the changes and you find yourself giving up.  Instead of trying to change everything at once.  Take one thing at a time.  After a stroke, your doctor or nurse may mention to you the need to improve your diet.  While that sounds easy enough, once you delve into nutrition information like fats and carbohydrates and sugars, it can easily become overwhelming.  A couple risk factors for stroke are high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Diet has been proven to play a role in controlling these two things.  A low-fat, low-salt diet can greatly improve not only your overall health, but your risk for future stroke, as well.  This video simply breaks down everything you need to know about how to maintain a healthy diet to prevent a future stroke.



September 2021

This story is about a neurologist who woke up in her own hospital, after having a stroke.  The most important thing to remember after having a stroke and beginning therapy in order to recover is that there is no expiration date to your stroke recovery. Each person’s recovery is individual and its vital to recognize that the more you put into your stroke recovery, the more you will get out of it in the long run.



August 2021

This month our topic of discussion will be Transient Ischemic Attacks, or TIA’s. TIA’s are also known as “mini-strokes”.  TIA’s are still an emergency, and one should go to the ER to be evaluated quickly. Ischemia can cause damage to the brain, but the goal is to prevent an infarct, which causes irreversible damage. TIA’s can sometimes progress into an ischemic stroke, and are a warning sign for future stroke. Please view the following educational video regarding TIA’s and how to prevent one.



July 2021

The topic for this month’s Stroke Support Group post is risk factors.  There are two types of risk factors for stroke. There are those that are uncontrolled, or cannot be changed, and manageable risk factors, those that can be modified with medications, lifestyle changes, diet, etc.

Uncontrolled risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Family History


Manageable risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib)
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation
  • Lack of physical activity or sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity

By making a commitment to decrease your risk for stroke, you can also improve your overall health and decrease your risk for other diseases such as heart disease, blood clots, etc.  Increased exercise and improved diet are a good way to start making changes.  Make it a point to talk to your healthcare provider to find out how you can decrease your risk factor for stroke.



June 2021

Symptoms of a stroke are sudden.  They should not be ignored.  It is better to overreact to stroke symptoms, than to ignore them.  The best thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is to get them to the hospital immediately.  BE FAST is an easy way to remember signs of a stroke. Any of these signs could mean a STROKE has happened.

B: Balance. Watch for sudden loss of balance. This can indicate a stroke has occurred.

E: Eyes. Check for sudden vision loss or blurriness in one or both eyes.

F: Face.  Assess for an uneven smile, or facial “droop”. Ask them to smile and see if only one side of the mouth goes up.

A: Arm.  Look to see if one arm is weaker than the other. Are they able to hold it up, or does it “drift”, or fall down?

S: Speech.  Listen for slurred speech, or the sudden inability to speak.

T: Time. Begin transport to the hospital right away.


BE FAST, Call 911!


May 2021

As a stroke survivor it is common to feel isolated and alone. One must try to remember that strokes occur every day, every minute, so there are numerous survivors.  Having support is so important to recovery.  Every stroke is different, so everyone’s recovery is different.  Some strokes leave people unable to walk, or even move.  With hard work and determination survivors can improve to have enhanced quality of life.  Recovery is never promised to be easy, but it will be worth it.


Watch Jim’s story about his stroke recovery with the use of technology.


April 2021

Welcome back to PMC’s Online Stroke Support Group! Aphasia is defined as the loss of ability to understand or express speech.  Aphasia is a common symptom and result of a stroke.  This month we will show you what it’s like to live with and take care of someone who suffers from aphasia. Aphasia is a common symptom of stroke that can sometimes last for days, weeks, months, or years.  Please watch this informative video regarding aphasia and how to live with it.

Chelsea Kinney
Stroke Program Manager
Cell: 606-794-5715
Email: chelsea.kinney@pikevillehospital.org


March 2021

Today, I want to recommend to you a couple of books I’ve read regarding actual stroke patients sharing their stories of impact and recovery. These books have given me an insight to what my patients are going through. I wanted to show these to you, so those watching may read (or listen to) these, and grasp a better understanding of how a stroke affects the patient.

1. My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. This book is written by the stroke survivor herself. She explains her stroke, her struggles with her identity after her stroke and her long recovery.

2. Healing the Broken Brain by Dr. Mike Dow and David Dow with Megan Sutton, CCC-SLP. This book answers 100 questions asked about strokes and recovery, and the author tells the story of his brother who had a stroke at a young age.

Thank you so much for joining us today! These will be posted monthly to this page for viewing. If you have any questions or recommendations for our next Stroke Support group, please feel free to let us know!

Chelsea Kinney
Stroke Program Manager
Cell: 606-794-5715
Email: chelsea.kinney@pikevillehospital.org

Pikeville Medical Center