News Release: School of Medicine

Sep. 15,  2008

Grady Stroke Program Receives American Stroke Association Award

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Grady Memorial Hospital has received the "Get With The Guidelines-Stroke" Silver Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

The award recognizes Grady's steadfast commitment and success in implementing the highest standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment for at least 12 months according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

"Only a handful of hospitals in this state and across the U.S. have achieved this level of performance," says Michael Frankel, MD, professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, and chief of neurology for the Grady Health System.

To receive the award, Grady consistently reached an 85 percent compliance rate for at least one year with the requirements of the program. This includes aggressive use of medications like tissue plasminogen activator or tPA -- the only clot busting drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the acute treatment of ischemic stroke, and a drug pioneered at Grady that has revolutionized the care of patients with acute stroke in the US.

Other targets achieved for the silver award include use of antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation.

"The hospital not only meets, but exceeds the requirements of providing timely CT scans of the brain, having a 24-7 stroke team available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate," says Frankel. Grady was the first hospital in the southeast to treat patients with tPA and developed the first 24-7 stroke team. In addition, Dr. Frankel and his team have been working with other hospitals in Georgia to help them improve the quality of acute stroke care. Grady's multi-specialty approach in caring for persons who have suffered a stroke means treatment begins as soon as they arrive in the emergency room.

"Achieving excellence in stroke care at Grady requires a highly coordinated and interdisciplinary effort involving many individuals from almost every department in the hospital," says Frankel.

In stroke treatment every minute counts because there is a critical golden hour to save the brain, Frankel explains. Strokes, or "brain attacks," occur nearly every 45 seconds and are the leading cause of long-term disability in the nation. Strokes happen when blood flow to your brain stops. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.

"The Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award addresses the important elements of time and quality in the treatment of stroke patients," says Frankel. "Get WithThe Guidelines" is sponsored by both the American Heart Association and the American Stoke Association and encourages the use of evidence-based treatment for patients with heart failure, stroke and coronary artery disease. Last year Grady was awarded the Bronze Annual Performance Award for three consecutive months of high performance and was featured in US News and World Report 2008 edition of America's Best Hospitals. In 2005, Grady became the first safety-net hospital in the US to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

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About GWTG: Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG) is the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association's hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. Experience has shown that 80,000 lives could be saved annually if the coronary artery disease (GWTG-CAD) module alone was implemented nationwide. For more information, visit americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Blog: http://emoryhealthblog.com
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci
Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

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