FRIDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Improving how quickly stroke
patients are diagnosed and treated is the cornerstone of a new set
of recommendations from the American Heart Association/American
The recommendations are designed to improve the quality of care
for patients with stroke, a life-threatening emergency that
involves the sudden death of brain cells. The guidelines cover both
ischemic stroke (caused by decreased blood supply to part of the
brain, which usually occurs when a blood vessel is blocked) and
hemorrhagic stroke (caused by bleeding in the brain).
The new measures include:
- Tracking the percentage of ischemic stroke patients who are
eligible for treatment with the clot-busting drug tissue
plasminogen activator (tPA) and treated within 60 minutes of
arriving at the hospital. The drug is only effective if given
within a few hours after stroke onset.
- Tracking the time from hospitalization to treatment to repair
blood vessels for patients with a ruptured brain aneurysm, a bulge
in an artery caused by a weakened artery wall.
- Performing 90-day follow-up of ischemic stroke patients to
assess their outcome after acute interventions, including treatment
The recommendations -- based on previous initiatives such as the
"Get With the Guidelines" program -- lay the groundwork for future
certification of Comprehensive Stroke Centers.
Comprehensive Stroke Centers would be expected to track the new
measures, along with the standard measures now required for Primary
"By using our [measures] as part of quality improvement efforts, over time hospitals should be able to improve the quality of the care that they give and improve patient outcomes," Dr. Dana Leifer, an associate professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, said in a heart association news release.
"The American Heart Association's 2020 goal is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, as well as to continue to reduce deaths by cardiac diseases and stroke by 20 percent," Dr. Ralph Sacco, president of the American Heart Association and chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said in the same news release. "Initiatives such as primary and now comprehensive stroke center certification will greatly help us reach our 2020 goal."
The guidelines and scientific statement appear in the Jan. 13
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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