MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has awarded West Virginia University Hospitals’ Stroke Center its Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award for its commitment and success in continued excellent care for stroke patients.

“This is a team effort achieved by the physicians, nurses and quality improvement professionals involved with the WVU Stroke Center,” said Laurie Gutmann, M.D., WVU Stroke Center director. “WVU Hospitals is one of only two centers in the state of West Virginia to achieve this status.”

Stroke patients at WVU receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. The WVU Stroke Center has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate a stroke and perform the appropriate treatment in time to minimize damage to the brain.

Get With The Guidelines is an AHA/ASA quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.

To receive the award, the WVU Stroke Center achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

In addition to the Get With The Guideline-Stroke award, the WVU Stroke Center has also been recognized as a recipient of the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke care. Over the past quarter, at least 50 percent of eligible ischemic stroke patients have received intravenous clot-busting medication within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as ‘door-to-needle’ time).
“The care our patients receive is our number one priority," Dr. Gutmann said. "Our greatest reward is serving our patients and seeing the lives we are impacting. That’s why we’re committed to turning treatment guidelines into lifelines.”

The Get With The Guidelines-Stroke recommendations suggests hospitals use the “teachable moment,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

To learn more about the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program, visit the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association online.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
lal: 03-28-11