Cedars-Sinai Stroke Program Leads the Way in Treatment Times, Outcomes

Program receives superior recognitions by national agencies

For its continuing commitment to the highest possible quality of care, Cedars-Sinai's Stroke Program has again been awarded the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's highest recognitions: the Get With the Guidelines Gold Plus award, and a place on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll.

"These awards result from the hard work of every member of our stroke team and the commitment of Cedars-Sinai to improve stroke care throughout our region," said Patrick Lyden, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology, director of the Stroke Program and the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology. "Our stroke program is the busiest in California, and these awards recognize that even with the largest volume we're able to maintain our high quality."

The award recognizes hospitals for their success for two or more years in using the AHA/ASA's quality improvement program guidelines to reduce stroke-related death and disability, and to improve the lives of patients.

In addition, Cedars-Sinai's dedicated professional team was recognized for their speed of treatment with inclusion on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll. To qualify, a hospital must hold a performance award, such as the Gold Plus, and have "door-to-needle" times – from arrival at the emergency room to the start of clot-busting drug treatment – within 60 minutes for at least 50 percent of applicable patients for at least one calendar quarter. When the AHA/ASA launched Target: Stroke in 2010, only 27.7 percent of patients received clot-busting medication in that time frame.

"When a stroke occurs, every minute lost is brain lost, so we make every effort to get patients treated as quickly as possible, and then provide them with the tools and resources they need for the best possible outcomes," Lyden said.

When given intravenously soon after stroke onset, tPA – tissue plasminogen activator – sometimes can clear a blocked artery, restore blood flow to the brain and reverse the stroke's effects.

The Cedars-Sinai's Stroke Program consistently has received the highest achievement awards from the AHA/ASA, and the hospital was one of the first in the nation to achieve certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the AHA/ASA and The Joint Commission, an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States.

The designation identifies hospitals that have the equipment, infrastructure, staff and training programs needed to diagnose and treat the most challenging stroke cases. Recognized centers offer the latest imaging systems, state-of-the-art drug therapy and advanced interventional devices. They also lead their communities in research, teaching and community education.