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February 1, 2011

University of Virginia Health System Receives Stroke Care Excellence Award

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The University of Virginia Health System has received a 2009 Stroke Care Excellence Award from HealthGrades, a provider of independent hospital ratings. The award, which UVA also received in 2008, is given annually for clinical excellence to the top ten percent of U.S. stroke care providers. UVA attained top (five-star) ratings for stroke patient survival rates in-hospital, one-month after discharge and six-months after discharge.

“We’re proud of this recognition, because it speaks to the high standard of care and exceptional expertise offered by the multidisciplinary team in our Primary Stroke Center,” says Karen C. Johnston, M.D., Chair of the UVA Department of Neurology. “Our neurologists are specially trained to treat acute stroke patients and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

According to Dr. Johnston, the UVA stroke team is taking this latest honor in stride.  “Because we’re dedicated to achieving excellence and providing our patients with the best comprehensive care possible, we’re looking toward our next big milestone, which will be earning Joint Commission designation as one of the nation’s first Comprehensive Stroke Centers.” When it becomes available, the CSC designation will be awarded to hospitals offering more extensive specialized care and technological resources than Primary Stroke Centers. “Our stroke team already has a proven track-record in providing such services,” she adds.

UVA has been a national leader in stroke research and treatment for almost two decades. During the 1990s, UVA neurologists led multi-center clinical trials of the clot-buster, tPA, which led to its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for ischemic stroke patients.

Today, UVA continues to pursue an intensive program of clinical research and specialized treatment protocols for stroke patients. “We’ve built a world-class stroke team that is offering the best current treatments, researching new treatments and pioneering new procedures,” she adds.  “Our research programs include new acute stroke treatments, genetics research, telemedicine use for acute stroke care and stroke prevention treatments.”

Established in 1991, UVA’s Primary Stroke Center provides comprehensive, round the clock treatment and care to nearly 500 patients annually. It offers all FDA approved therapies as well as advanced stroke imaging, interventional neuroradiology procedures, and investigational medical and surgical therapies.

In 2005, UVA earned the Joint Commission’s “Certificate of Distinction in the Management of Primary Stroke.” It was one of the first two hospitals in the state to attain this status and is now one of nine certified Primary Stroke Centers in Virginia.

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