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American Heart Association recognizes Via Christi’s commitment to quality stroke care

Via Christi Comprehensive Stroke Center team

Stroke care at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis has received the highest recognition possible by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association — just weeks after having achieved Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center status.

AHA representatives presented Via Christi’s stroke care team with a Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award and Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus.

They also presented the team with a special plaque recognizing Via Christi and the hospital for having met guidelines established by The Joint Commission and AHA/ASA for designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed,” said neurologist Saad Kanaan, MD, medical director of Via Christi’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. “These awards serve to validate our commitment and efforts to ensure our ability to safely and quickly deliver advanced stroke treatments to our patients.”

Among those joining Kanaan in accepting the awards were James Walker, MD, the neurocritical and critical care specialist and anesthesiologist who serves as medical director for St. Francis’ 20-bed dedicated neurocritical ICU, and the intensivists who serve in the NCCU; Kumar Reddy, MD, the interventional radiologist who serves as medical director for neurovascular and interventional radiology; and dozens of other clinicians and administrative leaders and staff who play a role in treating stroke patients at Via Christi.

“It takes a team and an integrated system of care that incorporates prevention and outreach education, research and rehabilitation services,” said Kanaan. “These awards and our recent accreditation indicate that we have that system of care, along with the extensive experience and resources needed to treat even the most acute stroke cases seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

The Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award recognizes Via Christi’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. To achieve it, Via Christi had to demonstrate 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, Via Christi had to meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

Via Christi earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures of its adherence to the most up-to-date, evidence-based stroke-care guidelines.

Get With The Guidelines®-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.