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Stroke Program

What is stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow to your brain stops. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. There are two kinds of stroke. The more common kind, called ischemic stroke, is caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain. The other kind, called hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by a blood vessel that breaks and bleeds into the brain. Mini strokes, or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), occur when the blood supply to the brain is briefly interrupted.

A Stroke Survivor's Story

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

What is the treatment for stroke?

If you have any of these symptoms, you must get to the Kalispell Regional Medical Center emergency department quickly to begin treatment. Our board certified neurologists can begin acute stroke therapies to try to stop a stroke while it is happening by quickly dissolving the blood clot or by stopping the bleeding.

Post-stroke therapy at Inpatient Rehabilitation helps individuals overcome disabilities that result from stroke damage.

What is the telestroke program?

The telestroke program, hosted by Kalispell Regional Medical Center for surrounding hospitals – including North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center in Libby and St. Luke Community Hospital in Ronan – allows neurological specialists to be at the virtual bedside of patients in rural hospitals without waiting for an ambulance ride or an A.L.E.R.T. flight to Kalispell. The minutes saved in identifying the patient's condition and determining the right treatment gives new dimension to the old adage, "Time equals brain."

Dr. Don Stone, Dr. Bret Lindsay, Dr. Kristin Yandora and Dr. Kurt Lindsay, medical director of the Stroke Program, and one of only two fellowship-trained stroke specialists in Montana, cover emergencies via video connections in their own homes and in their offices. One of the neurologists is available to remotely control a camera so he or she can examine the patient as needed, talk with the patient and family, and provide support to the emergency room doctor making treatment decisions.

Stroke Support Group

The purpose of the Flathead Valley Stroke Support Group is to connect stroke survivors and their families with educational tools and resources and to foster support, learning and healing. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.

The group meets the last Wednesday of every month, noon to 1 p.m., in the Lupine Room at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. For more information, call (406) 751-7165 or email

Our Commitment to Your Care

Stroke care can begin before reaching the hospital, often when friends or family recognize the signs of stroke and alert emergency medical services (EMS).  Local EMS notify the hospital of potential stroke patients while en route to the hospital, giving the emergency department time to activate the stroke team before the patient arrives.  The stroke team composed of nurses, doctors, neurologists, radiologists, CT technicians, pharmacists, and laboratory work together to diagnose and treat stroke patients quickly and efficiently.

It’s important to remember that stroke is largely treatable.  It’s a matter of getting the right treatment right away.  The faster stroke is treated, the more likely the stroke patient is to recover.  Kalispell Regional Medical Center is committed to the care of stroke patients and holds an Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality and achievement.