Clinical Neurosciences Center

University of Utah Hospital again recognized nationally for implementing quality stroke care.

Award demonstrates University Hospital’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients

Aug. 31, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah Stroke Center has been recognized once again for the highest level of achievement in using evidence-based guidelines to provide the best possible care to patients through The American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® and Target Stroke® programs.

To receive the award, University Hospital achieved of 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

“These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

In addition to the Get With The Guideline-Stroke award University Hospital has also been recognized as a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of the hospital’s eligible ischemic stroke patients have received tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time). A thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, tPA 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 has been shown to significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, 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.

"The University of Utah Stroke Center has been Utah’s leader in stroke care since we formed the state’s first Stroke Center," said Dr. Stefan-M. Pulst, Chair of the University’s Department of Neurology. "This award further demonstrates our commitment to the prevention and treatment of strokes for our community members as well as our commitment to stroke research and education."

“The University of Utah Hospital is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

Jennifer Majersik, MD, Director of the University of Utah Stroke Center, said, “We have developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. This includes always being equipped to rapidly conduct and interpret brain imaging, having stroke neurologists available 24/7 to evaluate patients, and using clot-busting medications when appropriate. Just as importantly, this award recognizes that excellent stroke care doesn’t end in the Emergency Department but extends into the hospital stay by preventing common complications of stroke and implementing proven preventative strategies in order to prevent recurrent strokes. We’re honored to be recognized again for excellence in patient care.”

“Time is of the essence in stroke. We can do a great deal to treat stroke and reduce the chance of long-term impacts, but only if treatment is started as soon as possible”, Dr. Majersik continued. “Patients and family members should know to call 911 immediately if they have any signs or symptoms of stroke, such as weakness of the face, arm, or leg or difficulty speaking. I recommend using the FAST test (below).”

Know the Signs of Stroke: Think FAST!

  • F – Facial weakness – Can the person smile?  Does their mouth or eye droop on one side?   
  • A – Arm weakness – Can the person raise both arms?  Are they able to grasp or hold things with both arms?  Is there dizziness or unsteadiness?
  • S - Speech problems – Can the person speak clearly?  Are they slurring their words?  Can they understand what you say and follow directions?  Are they suddenly confused?
  • T – TIME to act fast! - If the person shows any of these symptoms, CALL 9-1-1 Immediately!  Ask to be transported to a Certified Stroke Center.  Ask if t-PA is Right For You.

IF EVEN ONE OF THE SIGNS OF A STROKE ARE PRESENT, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!


For more information, contact:

Chase Rogers, 801-585-7778 office, chase.rogers@hsc.utah.edu

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About University of Utah Health Care

University of Utah Health Care is the Intermountain West’s only academic health care system, providing leading-edge and compassionate medicine for the people of Utah and a referral area encompassing five states and more than 10 percent of the continental United States. The health system includes four hospitals with more than 1,000 physicians offering more than 200 medical specialties. In 2010, University of Utah Health Care ranked No. 1 among all U.S. academic medical centers in the rigorous University HealthSystem Consortium Quality and Accountability study.  For more information visit http://healthcare.utah.edu.

About Get With The Guidelines

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.  For more information, visit heart.org/quality