University Hospital Earns “Primary Stroke Center” Designation For Second Time

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute is the first in the region to be re-certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the largest and most established accrediting body in healthcare.

The two-year designation reinforces the Institute’s rank among the nation’s premier hospitals for the treatment of stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability. The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute earned its first stroke certification in 2005.

More than 470 U.S. hospitals are currently certified as Primary Stroke Centers. A list of those centers is available at www.jcaho.org.

University Hospital cares for more stroke patients than any other hospital in the region. Treatment is provided by the multi-disciplinary Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team, which includes neurologists, emergency physicians, interventional neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, nurses and critical care specialists. In 2006 the Stroke Team provided immediate consultation for nearly 1,000 acute stroke patients from 35 different regional hospitals and emergency diagnostic centers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Studies show that recovery from an ischemic stroke (in which a clot cuts off oxygen to the brain) or a hemorrhagic stroke (in which a blood vessel in the brain bursts) hinges on very early and appropriate intervention. The American Stroke Association reports that improved clinical outcomes three months following an ischemic stroke are seen in patients who received the clot-busting drug t-PA intravenously within three hours of the onset of symptoms. Researchers also are studying promising therapies that utilize interventional methods to open blocked arteries in order to improve stroke outcomes.

“I am proud of our team’s commitment to excellent care, which resulted in our re-certification,” said Administrative Director Dennis Caliguri. “Our collaboration with the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team, combined with our expertise in surgical treatment of complex vascular conditions, has made the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute the place to seek treatment for stroke care and other tertiary conditions.”

Joseph Broderick, MD, Research Director at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and Chair of UC’s Department of Neurology, described the Institute as a world-class tertiary center for stroke, which has “led the nation in new interventional treatments for acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and which partners with local hospitals and patients to provide the very best stroke care in the United States.”

Arthur Pancioli, MD, Co-director with Dr. Broderick of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team and Vice-chair of UC’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said, “Our team can rapidly provide expertise at local community hospitals for those patients who can be treated with intravenous t-PA and admitted to those hospitals. Patients requiring more intensive and innovative treatments can be transferred to the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute at University Hospital.”

The Joint Commission’s certification standards were developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association. To achieve re-certification, the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute demonstrated excellence in four areas:

  1. Creation of an organized, comprehensive approach to performance improvement
  2. Utilization of comparative data to evaluate program processes and patient outcomes
  3. Evaluation of participants’ perception of care quality
  4. Maintenance of data quality and integrity
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