UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center Lauded for Stroke Treatment Practices

From University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health:

University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (UM UCMC) in Bel Air received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Hospitals must achieve 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 receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, hospitals must 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.

These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

“This honor demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” said Lyle E. Sheldon, president and CEO of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “We have a well-coordinated team specializing in the care of acute stroke patients. The recognition provided by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association reinforces our team’s dedication and hard work.”

Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and professor of medicine at Stanford University, said, “The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center for its commitment to stroke care. Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”

In addition, UM UCMC and University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital have met specific scientific guidelines as Primary Stroke Centers featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.

Spotting symptoms of a stroke and seeking immediate treatment can be the difference between life and death.

The American Heart Association has identified several warning signs of a stroke. They include sudden onset of numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

“Educating the community on how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke is so critical,” said Dr. Syed Shaukat, medical director of the Primary Stroke Center at UM UCMC. “Knowing the warning signs and calling 9-1-1 when they appear help to save lives each day. Every minute counts when someone is experiencing a stroke.”

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 three 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.

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