News Release: School of Medicine

Jun. 1,  2009

Grady Stroke Program Receives American Stroke Association Award

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The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association recently awarded Grady Memorial Hospital's stroke center its highest honor  "Get With The Guidelines-Stroke" Gold Performance Achievement Award.   

The award underscores Grady's commitment and success in implementing the greatest standard of stroke care for at least 24 months by ensuring stroke patients receive highest level of treatment according to nationally accepted criterion and recommendations.  

"This is a highly coveted award and represents a huge success story," says Michael R. Frankel, MD, professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, chief of neurology and director of the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center at Grady. "Only one other hospital in Georgia will receive the award and only 60 hospitals in the US have achieved this level of performance."

To receive the award, Grady consistently reached a minimum 85 percent compliance rate for at least two years with the requirements of the program, including aggressive use of medications like tissue plasminogen activator or tPA. The drug is the only clot busting medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the acute treatment of ischemic stroke. Pioneered at Grady and other sites nationally, the drug has revolutionized the care of patients with acute stroke in the U.S. Other targets achieved for the Gold Award include use of antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

"Grady's stroke center 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. "It's an invaluable life saving asset, because the metro Atlanta hospital is located in the heart of the stroke belt - a region in the southeastern United States that sees more strokes and stroke-related deaths than anywhere else in the nation."

Grady was the first hospital in the southeast to treat patients with tPA and developed the first 24/7 stroke team. In addition, 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 Award addresses the important elements of time and quality in the treatment of stroke patients," says Frankel. Grady will be featured in U.S. News and World Report 2009 edition of America's Best Hospitals as one of the hospitals receiving this prestigious award.

"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 Silver Annual Performance Award for 12 consecutive months of high performance and was featured in U.S. News and World Report 2008 edition of America's Best Hospitals. In 2005, Grady became the first safety-net hospital in the U.S. to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.


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.

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