LAU Medical Center - Rizk Hospital

About Strokes

Why A Stroke Center?

Stroke is one of the most serious and widespread medical emergencies in the world. In Lebanon, Stroke is thought to be the second-leading cause of death and one of the leading causes of disabilities

With stroke every second between onset of symptoms and treatment can mean the difference between survival and death or disability.

The quality of care and equipment available to stroke victims makes a world of difference. That is why it is essential for the public to have access to a stroke center.

The LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital Stroke Center is located in the heart of Beirut, accessible from numerous routes so that patients in need of urgent carecan get there fast. is The Center is staffed around the clock by an multidisciplinary team of specialists who have access to the world’s most advanced equipment and devices for the treatment of stroke.

What Is A Stroke?

There are two kinds of Stroke:

  1. Hemorrhagic Stroke (About 20% of all strokes) that happens when a blood vessel burst inside the brain
  2. Ischemic Stroke (About 80% of all strokes) that happens when a blood clot gets lodged inside an artery of the brain caused blockage.

An ischemic stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut-off, depriving the brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. If blood flow is cut off for more than three to four minutes, brain cells begin to die. Most victims will complete their stroke if not treated within four and a half hours from the onset of their symptoms

Factors that contribute to stroke include:

  • Age, specifically those over 60
  • Poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, lack of exercise and unhealthy diet
  • Existing health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Some congenital conditions such as carotid artery disease and sickle cell disease

For survivors, damage to brain cells caused by a stroke impairs the brain’s ability to function, leading to disabilities. When the stroke occurrs on the right side of the brain, the resulting damage affects the left side of the body and vice versa. Common lifelong disabilities that result from stroke include:

  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Numbness in any part of the body
  • Loss of ability to speak to write or to hear
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of vision
  • Memory loss


Though there are various causes of stroke, almost all victims exhibit the same symptoms at onset. While symptoms are usually painless, they are often very visible.

For this reason, physicians created the FAST list of symptoms to check when detecting a stroke:

Facial drooping: When a section of the victim’s face droops, usually only on one side, making it hard for them to smile

Arm weakness: When the victim is unable to raise one of their arms fully

Speech difficulties: When the victim has trouble speaking or understanding

Time: If any of the above symptoms are evident, it is essential to call for help immediately. Time is of the essence in treating stroke

If a person exhibits any of the above symptoms, it is critical to get them emergency care immediately. Every second counts when treating a stroke victim.

What Makes Our Stroke Center Unique

With the opening of the Comprehensive Stroke Center, the LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital has become the point of reference for stroke-related diseases in Lebanon.

The center operates under the auspices of Dr. Michel Mawad, dean of LAU’s Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine himself a world-renowned physician with special expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of cerebrovascular disease and stroke.

The center be a hub of patient care, education, and medical research . It will be staffed 24/7 by stroke neurologists, interventional surgeons, anesthesiologists, intensivists and neurosurgeons.

With its dedicated staff of the country’s leading physicians and nurses, and outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and a dedicated “Stroke Unit”, the center offers the most comprehensive treatment in the region for stroke victims or for patients at rsik of developing a stroke.

The center boasts specialized medical equipment, namely a state-of-the-art Biplane Interventional Stroke Unit made by the leading manufacturer of medical equipment Siemens Healthineers,. This interventional unit unit is unique in its sophistication, and efficiency. It can evaluate both the brain and the blocked blood vessels, thus allowing clinicians to diagnose stroke quickly and dispense treatments within the critical first hour of onset. Doctors can therefore administer life-saving drugs to patients and perform the necessary procedures in the same interventional suite saving valuable time.

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at LAUMC-RH also includes a four-bed intensive-care unit and a comprehensive integrated team of three full-time neurologists, three interventional surgeons, a critical care specialist and a team of anesthgesiologists available to ensure that stroke patients receive the best possible medical care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 The center’s location in the LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital complex, provides patients suffering from a stroke quick access to the high-tech resources on site, including a helicopter pad, which can get patients to the help they need when every second counts. Patients also benefit from the hospital’s strong relationships with rehabilitaion centers across the country.

Preventing Stroke

While strokes can be devastating, most are preventable. The presence of certain diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure greatly increases the likelihood of a stroke. Making lasting lifestyle changes is key:

  • Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Avoid red meat, egg yolks, heavy cheeses and deep-fried foods
  • Do not add extra salt to meals
  • Avoid added sugars, even honey
  • Do not smoke tobacco, whether cigarettes or narguileh
  • Get moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, daily
  • Make regular visits to the doctor and follow directions on all medications

The traditional Lebanese diet is actually ideal for stroke prevention, as it is rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables and healthy proteins. Scientists have repeatedly proven its health benefits in research studies.

In the words of Dr. Mawad, “It is best never to have a stroke. Prevention wins every time.”


“Hyper Acute Stroke Protocol,” 2018, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

“Understanding Stroke,” 2014, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

“Preventing Stroke,” 2015, Dr. Michel Mawad.

“Lebanese Traditional Diets and Health Effects,” 2018, Wild-type food in health promotion and disease prevention: The Columbus concept (pp.493-498).

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