WVU Healthcare stroke program draws national acclaim

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In the event of a brain vessel blockage or hemorrhage, time lost is brain lost, and the hospitals that routinely see patients recover share one thing: a commitment to providing the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. In recognition of its role as a regional and national leader in stroke care, WVU Healthcare’s Stroke Center has again earned the highest honor possible from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines® program. 

The Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite awards are reserved for hospital teams who meet the highest measures of following the most up-to-date guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“These awards recognize the efforts put forth by our staff and physicians to provide stroke care of the highest quality,” John F. Brick, M.D., director of WVU Healthcare’s Stroke Center and endowed chair of the West Virginia University School of Medicine Department of Neurology, said.  “In order to obtain this recognition, we are compared to the finest programs in America. We are honored to be recognized as being a member of this elite group.” 

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult 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. 

Get With the Guidelines-Stroke uses the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they learn how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital and recognize the F.A.S.T. warning signs of a stroke. F.A.S.T. stands for:

•    Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?
•    Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
•    Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
•    Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

The Stroke Center at WVU Healthcare has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate and treat a stroke in time to minimize damage. West Virginia University Hospitals is designated a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations in recognition of excellence in patient care.

“We are pleased to recognize WVU Healthcare for their commitment to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With the Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce length of stay and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparities in care.”

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 5 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org/quality or heart.org/QualityMap.

To learn more about the Stroke Center at WVU Healthcare, visit: http://wvuhealthcare.com/services/neurology/stroke/about-the-wvu-stroke-center/.