Barrow Stroke Program Receives Top Honors

The American Stroke Association has awarded Barrow Neurological Institute its highest recognition for stroke care.

The Gold Plus Achievement Award recognizes hospitals that for two or more consecutive years have had at least 85 percent adherence to all Get With The Guidelines achievement measures and 75 percent adherence to at least five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality measures.

Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, which was awarded to 270 other hospitals across the United States for 2016, is one of three new award levels developed by the American Stroke Association in an effort to reduce the time between a patient’s arrival at a hospital and treatment with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

Hospitals qualify for Honor Roll Elite Plus if 75 percent or more of ischemic stroke patients are treated with IV tPA within 60 minutes of arrival and if 50 percent or more are treated within 45 minutes. These hospitals must also have at least a Silver Get With The Guidelines-Stroke status.

When given promptly, tPA can save lives and reduce the long-term effects of ischemic strokes. The drug, which is given through an IV in the arm, works by dissolving the blood clot that caused the stroke and improving blood flow to the parts of the brain that are being deprived. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the No. 1 cause of adult disability in the U.S.

According to a study published in the journal Stroke that sought to quantify this phrase, the total number of neurons in the average human forebrain is estimated at 22 billion. Every hour that a stroke is left untreated results in the loss of 120 million neurons and accelerates aging of the brain by 3.6 years.

Stroke Program Coordinator Allison Tucker collects data on all stroke patients not only for review by the American Stroke Association but also for review in a monthly meeting at Barrow.

For example, to improve laboratory processing times, blood samples from stroke patients are now sent to the lab in red canisters instead of standard canisters so that those samples are immediately prioritized.