For excellence in emergency stroke care, Christiana Care’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health has been named to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Christiana Care is the only hospital in Delaware and one of a few in the Philadelphia region named to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, making it among the fastest in the nation for life-saving care.
When it comes to stroke, time is brain. Treatment within the first three hours — the golden window for stroke — is critical to saving the millions of neurons vital for human function, according to AHA/ASA. Unfortunately, many people wait up to a day after their symptoms start before seeking medical attention because they simply don’t know the symptoms of a stroke.
The Target: Stroke Honor Roll recognizes hospitals that treat at least half of eligible patients with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, commonly known as tPA, within an hour of their arrival to the emergency department (known as “door-to-needle” time). This medication is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA can significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.
In addition, Christiana Care earned the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for the second consecutive year. The honor recognizes Christiana Care for achieving 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines Stroke Quality Achievement Indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals. Christiana Care also achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 stroke quality measures during the same time period.
“The Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates Christiana Care’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Timothy J. Gardner, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health. “We will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols.”
These measures include tPA use, anticoagulation therapy, cholesterol-lowering drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Studies show patients who are taught to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital are less likely to have another stroke.
“These honors are the culmination of a tremendous team effort by all my colleagues within the Center for Heart & Vascular Health and throughout Christiana Care,” said Anthony Munson, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Stroke Program. “This team also includes community paramedics who notify the emergency department to prepare the stroke alert team for a patient’s arrival.”
Last July, Christiana Care earned continued Gold Seal of Approval for re-certification as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. Christiana Care is a high-volume stroke center, ranking 6th in the nation for the number of cases treated. According to the latest MedPAR (Medicare) data, Christiana Care treated 1,090 cases in 2009.
Christiana Care’s Primary Stroke Center Program includes stroke evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation. The goal is helping patients to make the most complete stroke recovery possible. The staff develops an individualized stroke recovery plan and evaluates patients to identify risk factors that can lead to further problems.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. 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.