University Creates Statewide Paul Coverdell Stroke Registry
will create a statewide stroke registry through a $1 million award from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The announcement
of the registry will be made during the American Heart Association's
Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The registry is one of four
such registries nationwide named the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke
Registry, in honor of the late Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell and others
who have died or been disabled from a stroke. Senator Coverdell died
in July 2000 from complications of a stroke.
Emory neurologist Michael
Frankel, M.D., chief of neurology at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital
and associate professor at Emory University, is the principal investigator
for the CDC grant and director of the Paul Coverdell Stroke Registry
in Georgia. The registry will help hospitals in Georgia track the impact
of strokes and the availability of stroke treatment with the aim of
improving the quality of care for stroke victims. The four statewide
stroke registries, located in Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts,
will serve as prototypes for a nationwide stroke registry.
"The purpose of the registry
is to collect information about patients who are admitted to hospitals
in Georgia with acute stroke symptoms," Dr. Frankel says. "This will
allow us to learn more about the impact of stroke in Georgia and improve
the quality of care at the participating hospitals. This is the first
time anyone has ever attempted to collect data on a large population
of people suffering from strokes."
According to the CDC, stroke
is the leading cause of adult disability and the number three cause
of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer. And Georgia is
in an area of the country referred to as the "stroke belt," which records
a higher incidence of death and disability due to stroke than any other
region in the country.
Dr. Frankel and his team
randomly selected 60 hospitals to participate in the stroke registry
out of 160 hospitals in Georgia. The hospitals will submit anonymous
information about patients, including age, gender, race, type and severity
of stroke, length of hospital stay and treatment. Participating hospitals
will be able to see how their stroke care compares to other hospitals
throughout the state, but none of the hospitals will be identified.
"We are assessing the quality
of care at each participating hospital, but the information is for that
hospital's eyes only," Dr. Frankel reports. "Over time, we will be able
to provide feedback to the hospitals as the quality of care varies.
We also will provide the hospitals educational materials based on national
guidelines for the care of patients with acute stroke. We hope this
will lead to improving the quality of care and preventing additional
The Georgia Stroke Registry
will involve a close collaboration between Emory University, Grady Health
System, the CDC, the Georgia Medical Care Foundation (Georgia's peer
review organization), and selected Georgia hospitals working in partnership
to improve the processes and outcomes of acute stroke care.
At the end of the one-year
prototype grant, Dr. Frankel expects about 5,000 patients to have been
entered into the stroke registry. "The information from those 5,000
patients will be used to improve the quality of care for all patients
in Georgia," he says. Although there is no guarantee for funding beyond
the first year, Dr. Frankel hopes that this project will lead to additional
work in Georgia to limit the tremendous burden of disability caused