January 30, 2012

University Hospital has received national recognition from the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association for the quality of care provided to stroke patients.

The Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award received by University Hospital represents the highest distinction possible from Get With The Guidelines®, a hospital-based quality improvement program developed by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

“The award means University Hospital is following nationally accepted best practices for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke,” said Niranjan Singh, M.D., a neurologist and director of University Hospital’s Missouri Stroke Program. “These are the most up-to-date guidelines that address acute stroke management, primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, secondary prevention of strokes and the establishment of primary stroke centers.”

Physicians and staff at University Hospital have incorporated these guidelines into a comprehensive system for rapidly diagnosing and treating stroke when patients are admitted to the emergency department. When patients come to the E.R. with stroke symptoms, they receive brain-imaging scans, evaluations by neurologists and clot-busting medications as needed.

“We are very proud to have received this award — the highest level that a stroke program can achieve,” said Pradeep Sahota, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurology at University of Missouri Health Care. “It recognizes our commitment and success in implementing the highest standard of care for our stroke patients.”

To treat stroke patients, University Hospital uses a multidisciplinary team from several different departments including neurology, neurosurgery, the medical and neurological intensive care unit, physical therapy, cardiology and emergency services.

“In order to identify, diagnose and treat the stroke patient quickly, we work together as a cohesive team once the patient arrives at the hospital,” said Ashish Nanda, M.D., a neurointerventionalist with University Hospital’s Missouri Stroke Program. “Rapid evaluation and treatment then make the difference, not only between life and death, but also in terms of quality of life.”

Each stroke is unique, but all strokes can produce physical, behavioral and communication damage that can be lifelong issues.

“The severity of these effects can be directly attributed to the speed with which we diagnose and treat the patient,” said Brandi French, M.D., a neurologist with University Hospital’s Missouri Stroke Program. “Balance, muscular function, speech and personality can all be affected. These changes not only affect the patient adversely, but also can have a profound impact on the patient’s loved ones. So using standardized best practices makes a big difference in a positive way for stroke patients.”

In addition to Gold Plus status, University Hospital was also named to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s 2011 Target: Stroke Honor Roll.

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/missouristrokeprogram.