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UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System

Continuing a higher standard of stroke care

Medical center recognized for treatment standards

doctor and patient in ER
UC Davis stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. 

Posted Mar. 23, 2011

UC Davis Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Performance Achievement Award.

The award recognizes the medical center's continued commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. UC Davis received a Silver Plus award for complying with Get With the Guidelines measures for 12 consecutive months.

“Every 40 seconds someone in the United States suffers from a stroke,” said Piero Verro, UC Davis professor of neurology and director of the UC Davis Stroke Program. “These guidelines help both to reduce damage from strokes and prevent recurrences going forward.

UC Davis Medical Center has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain-imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

“These guidelines help both to reduce damage from strokes and prevent recurrences going forward." 
— Piero Verro, director of the UC Davis Stroke Program 

Get With the Guidelines-Stroke treatment guidelines include aggressive use of medications like clot-busting tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy and deep-vein thrombosis prophylaxis, plus a focus on cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation.

Each year more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke, with an estimated 610,000 listed as first attacks and 185,000 as recurrences. Another 200,000 to 500,000 people present with a transient ischemic attack or TIA, often called a “warning stroke.”

Stroke accounts for 1 out of every 18 American deaths, and is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is also expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population, Verro said.

"We’re honored to have tangible proof of our commitment and hard work to provide quality care." 
— Pat Zrelak, stroke program administrative nurse

Credit for the development of the medical center’s system for diagnosing and treating stroke patients admitted through the emergency department belongs to the staff of the ED and the stroke unit, Verro said.

"We’re honored to have tangible proof of our commitment and hard work to provide quality care,” said Pat Zrelak, the administrative nurse for the medical center's stroke program who helped coordinate the effort.

UC Davis Medical Center has also been certified as an advanced primary stroke center by The Joint Commission, the nation’s preeminent hospital-accreditation body. The certification signals that the hospital’s services have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes for stroke patients.