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May 15, 2013

American Heart Association recognizes stroke program for quality care

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For consistent efforts to improve stroke care and patient outcomes, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recognized University of Virginia Health System with two awards.

UVA received the AHA’s Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement award and its Target: Stroke award.

UVA received the Gold Plus Quality Achievement award for 85 percent or better compliance for at least two years with all of the AHA’s stroke quality achievement guidelines and 75 percent compliance for at least 12 consecutive months with five or more additional stroke quality measures. UVA reached 95 percent or better compliance on all stroke quality achievement measures and exceeded 93 percent compliance on the five additional stroke quality measures it submitted to AHA, including:

Providing intravenous tPA (a drug designed to break up clots that cause strokes) within four-and-a-half hours of a stroke Educating patients about strokes Screening patients for dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), a common condition in stroke patients Assessing patients for rehabilitation needs Documenting LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels

UVA earned the Target: Stroke award for providing intravenous tPA to at least 50 percent of patients within 60 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. For calendar year 2012, more than 73 percent of patients at UVA received tPA within 60 minutes, compared with 43 percent nationally; the median time for stroke patients at UVA to receive intravenous tPA was 57.6 minutes after their arrival at the hospital.

UVA has an Acute Stroke Team on call 24 hours a day that can quickly evaluate and determine the best treatment for each patient. UVA’s stroke team includes specially trained stroke neurologists and stroke care nurses, emergency department doctors, neurointensivists, neurosurgeons and interventional neuroradiologists who provide fast, comprehensive treatment options.

“These awards from the AHA highlight the consistent dedication of our team of stroke specialists to provide fast, quality care for our patients whenever it is needed,” said Heather Turner, RN, coordinator of UVA’s stroke program.

The Joint Commission recently re-certified UVA as a Primary Stroke Center; the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have also certified UVA as a Primary Stroke Center.

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