COLUMBIA, Mo. — University Hospital’s stroke program has been certified as an advanced primary stroke center by the Joint Commission.
“We’re very proud to achieve this distinction from the Joint Commission,” said Niranjan Singh, M.D., a University of Missouri Health Care neurologist and co-director of University Hospital’s stroke program. “Stroke center certification means that we are nationally recognized for our commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients and our community.”
The Joint Commission recognizes programs that make exceptional efforts to promote better outcomes and provide specialized care for stroke patients. Certification is based on recommendations for advanced primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association.
On-site certification assessments are conducted by reviewers with expertise in stroke care. Certification is based on an evaluation of standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement activities. University Hospital was certified after an on-site review on Aug. 13.
“Having a surveyor review the program and find no deficiencies provides us with an independent testimony that the hospital is providing quality care to stroke patients,” said Ashish Nanda, M.D., an MU Health Care neurointerventialist and co-director of University Hospital’s stroke program. “Everyone on the stroke team did a magnificent job, as always, and we owe a lot -more- to each individual on the team. Now with the availability of neurointerventional therapy at University Hospital, we are taking a step forward in treating our acute stroke patients.”
On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and each year more than 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. Stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death. Stroke is also a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, costing approximately $70 billion in medical expenses and productivity in 2009 alone.
“Stroke prevention and awareness is important for everyone,” said Leigh Kite, R.N., M.S.N. CNL, stroke program coordinator at University Hospital. “It can occur at any time and any age, from prenatal to adulthood. But research shows that by recognizing risk factors and practicing proper lifestyle management, the instances of stroke in most cases can be reduced by 80 percent.”
A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a break in a blood vessel causes an interruption of blood flow to the brain. This interruption cuts off the brain’s oxygen supply and destroys brain cells. If the stroke isn’t fatal, it can still affect memory, movement and speech.
Although some strokes are not preventable, lifestyle changes can reduce the chances for someone considered high-risk for stroke. Risk factors that are manageable include:
• Atrial fibrillation issues such as heart palpitations, dizziness and fluttering or racing sensations in the chest
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes mellitus
• High cholesterol
• Tobacco and excessive alcohol use
• Obstructive sleep apnea
• Physical inactivity and obesity
“Removing risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol use and leading a healthier, less sedentary lifestyle can make a big difference in reducing the chances of stroke,” said Kite. “Know your blood pressure, find out if you have atrial fibrillation, and if you have high cholesterol, get that under control with medication.”
University Hospital’s Department of Neurology has a dedicated weekly stroke clinic led by vascular neurologist for non-emergent stroke and transient ischemic attack, or TIA, patient referrals.
For more information on stroke prevention and awareness or to make an appointment with one of University Hospital’s neurologists, please call (573) 884-6019 or visit www.muhealth.org.