University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center has again earned The Joint Commissionís Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers, the highest level of certification reserved for institutions with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.
Certified since the program was created in 2012, UC Medical Center remains in a select group of health care organizations focused on highly specialized stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients.
"From this recertification process, we learned some incredible metrics about our team at UC Medical Center. One is that our median time from arriving in our emergency room to receiving the standard stroke treatment (tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA) is just 33 minutes, almost half of the 60 minute time frame required for certification. When you consider all the things that happen before treatment can begin, including triage evaluation, a physician exam and CT scans, this is very impressive,Ē says Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, a professor in the UC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, co-director of the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center and a UC Health physician.
"This designation reaffirms our place among the top-tier institutions that provide complex stroke care. Itís really a testament to the hard work of our whole team, from the nurses and patient care assistants at the triage desk, to our CT technicians and radiologists, to our emergency medicine and stroke experts,Ē says Opeolu Adeoye, MD, associate professor of Emergency Medicine and Neurosurgery at the UC College of Medicine and co-director of the UC Stroke Team, and a UC Health physician.
The Joint Commission has a rigorous application process with a number of requirements for advanced certification, including volume of cases, advanced imaging capabilities, post-hospital care coordination of patients, dedicated neuro-intensive care unit (ICU) beds for complex stroke patients, peer review process, participation in stroke research and performance measures.
"By achieving this advanced certification, UC Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,Ē says Mark Chassin, MD, president and CEO of The Joint Commission. "Certification is a voluntary process and the Joint Commission commends UC for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.Ē
The Comprehensive Stroke Center, together with the UC Stroke Team and the surgical/interventional neurovascular program, provides a multidisciplinary center for stroke prevention and the treatment of transient ischemic attack (TIA), ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage, aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, moyamoya disease and other cerebrovascular conditions.
Among the centerís key programs and accomplishments:
- The UC Stroke Team, founded as the first multidisciplinary stroke team in the U.S. during the mid-1980s, provides stroke evaluation for acute stroke therapy around the clock at 15 regional hospitals, as well as consultation at over 20 other regional hospitals.
- In 2012, the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and UC Medical Center launched a major initiative to bring the expertise of the UC Stroke Team to partner hospitals through telestroke, the use of telemedicine specifically for stroke care.
- UC researchers played a leading role in developing and testing the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, to treat acute ischemic stroke. Such a stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked, typically by a blood clot. Intravenous tPA is the only FDA-approved medical treatment for stroke caused by a blood clot.
- UC is the National Coordinating Center for the NIH-funded StrokeNet, a network of major research hospitals across the country conducting state-of-the-art stroke research in prevention, treatment and recovery.
- UC researchers also direct neurorecovery/neuroimaging studies in stroke recovery, participate in the major medical and surgical prevention studies and have an active translational laboratory studying preclinical models of stroke and cerebrovascular disease.
Stroke is the fifth cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. 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.