Initiative will help educate community about warning signs and symptoms of a stroke

Is Middle Tennessee under pressure? High blood pressure that is. HCA’s TriStar Health System, which includes Skyline Medical Center and Summit Medical Center, recently launched “Pressure Check” to find out and help educate the community about the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.

“High blood pressure is the best indicator to determine a person’s risk for stroke, and the chance of having a stroke increases each day that your blood pressure is too high,” said Ravi Chari, M.D., chief medical officer at TriStar Health System. “We know that one of the best weapons against stroke is knowledge and treatment. That is why we launched this initiative to educate our community about what to do in the event of a stroke.”

Pressure Check is a multi-platform, community awareness initiative to help Middle Tennesseans learn their blood pressure numbers and what to do if someone they know is suffering a stroke—the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in Tennessee. Through public service announcements, outdoor billboards, evening news broadcast sponsorships and on-air television interviews with TriStar stroke experts, TriStar is “putting the pressure on” all of Middle Tennessee to learn the warning signs and symptoms of a stroke.

The stroke awareness initiative also involves a series of free blood pressure screenings, called “Pressure Checks”, held at local community events and venues throughout the next six months. The goal of these Pressure Checks is to take the blood pressure of as many Middle Tennesseans as possible to determine the average blood pressure of our community and find out if it is under or over pressure. Nearly 33 percent of adult Tennesseans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The Pressure Check blood pressure screenings also provide the opportunity to educate the community about the risk factors for a stroke and teach individuals how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke by remembering “F.A.S.T.”—Facial droop or uneven smile, Arm numbness or weakness, Speech is slurred, Time to act and get to the hospital immediately.

“Stroke is a medical emergency and anyone who experiences signs or symptoms should go to the closest emergency room, or preferably, closest accredited stroke center or Stroke Ready emergency room,” Dr. Chari said.

For a complete schedule of upcoming Pressure Check screening events, please call TriStar MedLine at 615-342-1919 or 1-800-242-5662 or visit

TriStar Stroke Network

When it comes to stroke, timing is everything. Every minute that a stroke goes untreated, it kills 1.9 million brain cells, causing brain damage that can lead to long-term disability and even death. That is why recognizing the signs of a stroke and getting to the hospital fast are critical.

The hospitals of TriStar Health System in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky are uniquely positioned to become the region’s leading expert in stroke prevention, treatment and education. Together, the TriStar hospitals form the TriStar Stroke Network, an integrated system of care that raises the current standards for stroke diagnosis and treatment.

These hospitals include: Centennial Medical Center, Greenview Regional Hospital, Hendersonville Medical Center, Horizon Medical Center, Skyline Medical Center, Southern Hills Medical Center, StoneCrest Medical Center and Summit Medical Center. By the end of 2011, all TriStar hospitals will be reviewed by the Joint Commission to achieve Certified Primary Stroke Center accreditation


The TriStar Stroke Network provides 24/7 access by TriStar stroke experts who will determine the best treatment plan and coordinate the rapid transfer to one of our comprehensive stroke centers. Stroke is a medical emergency, and anyone who experiences signs or symptoms should go to the closest accredited stroke center or Stroke Ready emergency room. If a stroke occurs, minutes matter and the hospitals of the TriStar Stroke Network are ready.

TriStar Health System is the region’s largest, most comprehensive healthcare provider with 18 hospitals and 10 ambulatory surgery centers in Tennessee, South Central Kentucky and Northern Georgia. As a system, our hospitals are supported by approximately 5,300 physicians and nearly 13,000 employees. TriStar Health System facilities feature state-of-the-art technology and pioneer new medical procedures every day to accommodate the needs of the more than 110,000 patient admissions and nearly 525,000 Emergency Department visits annually. For more information about TriStar Health System, or for a physician referral, call TriStar MedLineSM at 615-342-1919 or toll-free outside of Nashville at 1-800-242-5662 or visit