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Published on March 23, 2015

MU Health Care Receives Highest Statewide Designation for Stroke Care

MU Health Care Stroke Team

From left: Ashish Nanda, M.D., co-director of the Missouri Stroke Program; William Humphries III, M.D., cerebral vascular neurosurgeon; Niranjan Singh, M.D., co-director of the Missouri Stroke Program; Vikas Gupta, M.D., neurological interventionalist; Brandi French, M.D., director of the inpatient neurosciences program; Tami Harris, R.N., Missouri Stroke Program coordinator; and Debbie Self, office support staff.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — When minutes matter, stroke patients at University of Missouri Health Care receive some of the state’s fastest and most critical care from a team of highly specialized experts. In recognition, MU Health Care has been designated one of the state’s first Level I Missouri State Time Critical Diagnosis Stroke Centers, the highest recognition a hospital can receive for its stroke program.

Developed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as a way to evaluate the care offered at designated stroke centers, the Level I comprehensive stroke center certification recognizes hospitals that have expert caregivers in all areas of advanced stroke care, including diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, education and research.

Missouri Medical Focus

Ashish Nanda, MD, a neurointerventionalist and co-director of MU Health Care’s Missouri Stroke Program, discusses state designated Level I comprehensive stroke centers.

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“This designation means that we are able to offer patients the safest, quickest and most comprehensive care possible at every stage of stroke,” said Niranjan Singh, M.D., associate professor of neurology and co-director of University Hospital’s Missouri Stroke Program. “From the onset of symptoms through recovery, we have the expertise and technology to deliver life-saving stroke care to all patients around the clock 24/7. We’re proud that our commitment to quality care has been recognized.”

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or drastically reduced, depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability. In 2014, the stroke team at MU Health Care treated approximately 61 percent of eligible stroke patients with the clot-busting drug tPA in less than 45 minutes after they arrived at University Hospital’s emergency room. In other hospitals across the country, only 24 percent of eligible patients are treated in less than 45 minutes.

“Time is never more important than when you’re experiencing a stroke,” said Pradeep Sahota, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology at the MU School of Medicine and director of the sleep disorders program at MU Health Care. “Our team’s rapid response means that patients suffering a stroke have a better chance of recovery with fewer complications.” Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, killing almost 130,000 Americans each year. Because a stroke can be life changing, MU Health Care experts offer support from when a patient is most critically ill until after the patient is discharged.

“We not only provide medical care, but support beyond the walls of our facility,” said Brandi French, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and director of the inpatient neurosciences program. “Each stroke patient is unique, and we provide follow-up care and support to help our patients return to the best quality of life as possible.”

In addition to treating every stage of stroke, MU experts work to translate discoveries in the lab to the bedside. Patients of MU’s stroke program have the opportunity to take part in clinical trials that explore and advance new treatment methods.

“Patients can be certain that if there is a latest treatment available for stroke, it will be available here to our patients,” Sahota said.

MU Health Care underwent an on-site audit by reviewers from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to observe patient care, audit documentation and credentials, and interview multidisciplinary stroke team members in order to ensure the program met the new, rigorous criteria for being a top stroke center.

MU’s stroke team includes experts in neurology, neurosurgery, physical therapy, cardiology and emergency services, among other specialties. MU’s stroke program includes:

  • three board-certified vascular stroke neurologists
  • three neuro-interventionalists
  • the only neurosurgery cerebral vascular physician in central Missouri
  • a dedicated stroke clinic
  • a leading-edge diagnostic and treatment facility for patients with complex neurological disorders
  • a neuroscience intensive care unit dedicated to patients who require critical care and evaluation

In addition to Singh and French, the Missouri Stroke Program team members include Ashish Nanda, M.D., co-director of the Missouri Stroke Program; Vikas Gupta, M.D., neurological interventionalist; William Humphries III, M.D., cerebral vascular neurosurgeon; and Tami Harris, R.N., Missouri Stroke Program coordinator.

University Hospital’s stroke program is certified as an advanced primary stroke center by the Joint Commission. The program is a member of the American Heart Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus and has received the Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.