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Stroke Center strikes ‘Gold’

Jun. 27, 2013, 9:01 AM

Earl Coleman Jr., center, of the American Stroke Association, presents the Gold Award to Howard Kirshner, M.D., third from left. Also on hand were, from left, LaSheryl Brown, Kirsten Espaillat, Mary Ann Rickel and Candace Tillquist. (photo by John Russell)

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has once again recognized the Vanderbilt Stroke Center for using evidence-based guidelines to provide the best possible care to patients.

The Vanderbilt Stroke Center maintained its Gold Award for attaining at least 85 percent compliance with Get With The Guidelines measures for 24 consecutive months, and added a “Plus” designation for complying with additional quality measures.

“This award is very important. It tells us officially that we’re doing the right thing for stroke patients,” said Howard Kirshner, M.D., professor of Neurology and director of the Vanderbilt Stroke Center.

The Stroke Center has also been named to the Target: Stroke Honor Roll. Target: Stroke is a national quality initiative of the AHA/ASA to improve timeliness of intravenous clot-busting medication (known as tPA).

The goal set for Target: Stroke is a door-to-needle time within 60 minutes in at least 50 percent of stroke patients treated with IV tPA. Vanderbilt treats 60 percent of patients within that 60-minute window.

“This award is a reflection of the hard and difficult work you do,” said Earl Coleman, MPH, J.D., director of Quality & Systems Improvement with the AHA/ASA. “We now see patients who are doing well or just have a slight deficit and know that stroke doesn’t have to be the devastating disease it once was. As we move into the future, more and more patients will have a positive outcome from stroke.”

Stroke kills more than 137,000 people each year in the United States and is a leading cause of neurological disability in adults.

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 1,600 hospitals participate in the program.

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