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University of Utah Hospital Recognized Nationally for Implementing Quality Stroke Care

Salt Lake CITY, UT  - 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.

University of Utah Hospital and 814 other hospitals are featured in a special advertisement in the “America’s Best Hospitals” issue of US News & World Report (August issue) to commemorate their receipt of Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award. A total of 961 awards were given for achievement in coronary artery disease, stroke and/or heart failure treatment.       

Hospitals recognized in each category achieve at least 85 percent compliance to Get With The Guidelines measures. Those achieving 85 percent compliance for 24 consecutive months receive the Gold Performance Achievement Award, with the Silver Performance Achievement Award going to those with 85 percent compliance for 12 consecutive months. Special recognition is also given for those hospitals achieving 85 percent compliance in two or all three categories and/or for being in 75 percent compliance with heart failure and/or stroke measures.

Get With The Guidelines is a hospital-based quality-improvement program designed to ensure that hospitals consistently care for cardiac and stroke patients following the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations. The program addresses coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke. Currently more than 1,400 hospitals participate in the program.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s advertisement recognizes University of Utah Health Care’s commitment and success in performance achievement.

"The University of Utah Stroke Center has been a leader in stroke care in Utah for over a decade," 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 American Heart Association is pleased to recognize its top Get With The Guidelines participants,” said. Lee Schwamm, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chairman of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Healthcare providers who use Get With The Guidelines are armed with the latest evidence-based guidelines and immediate access to clinical decision support, using a set of tools that have been shown to improve delivery of evidence-based care. The goal of this initiative is to improve the quality of life and help reduce deaths and disability among patients with heart disease and stroke.”

Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get With The Guidelines works.  Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it.  That’s resulting in improved survival.”

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost”, said Jennifer Majersik, MD, Director of the University of Utah Stroke Center. “Because of that, University of Utah Health Care has 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. We’re honored to be recognized again for excellence in patient care.”

“Time is of the essence in stroke treatment because though there is treatment for stroke, it has to be started within 3 hours of stroke onset”, 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.