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VUMC provides ‘Elite-Plus’ stroke response

Jun. 9, 2016, 9:46 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s rapid response in treating stroke patients has received the American Stroke Association’s Honor Roll-Elite Plus recognition.

The award is based on time metrics and quality measures, particularly the delivery of the clot-buster tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), when appropriate, within 45 minutes of a patient entering the emergency department.

Reaching that benchmark is similar to running a relay race and handing off multiple batons. It requires teamwork across hospital units.

“You have a bunch of actions that are all priorities that have to be done within 45 minutes,” said Kiersten Espaillat, DNP, stroke coordinator for the Vanderbilt Stroke Center. “There is a particular order they have to be done in. There are also things that have to be done in conjunction with one another. While the physician is examining the patient, the nurse is drawing the blood while the CT tech positions the head. You have to work together to do all that at the same time.”

The Honor Roll-Elite Plus designation, which was established in 2015, is given in recognition for performance beyond the requirements for the American Stroke Association’s Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. This marks the second consecutive year VUMC has received the Elite Plus designation.

“Our entire team has worked extremely hard to maximize efficiency of acute stroke patients,” Michael Froehler, M.D., Ph.D., a neuro interventionalist and director of the Cerebrovascular Service. “This award reflects our success in that process.”

VUMC has again been named a Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award hospital by the American Stroke Association. Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher on achievement guidelines set by the organization for two or more years and also achieve 75 percent or higher compliance on quality measures to receive the Gold Plus designation.

“One recent study showed that if the clogged artery can be opened within the first 2.5 hours after the start of a stroke, the chance of a complete recovery is more than 90 percent,” Froehler said. “But that recovery rate drops with every subsequent hour, so we do everything we can to get stroke patients into the hospital and get their arteries open as quickly as possible.”

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