News Release: Emory Healthcare, School of Medicine

Jul. 21,  2009

Emory University Hospital Stroke Program Honored By American Stroke Association

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Emory University Hospital has received the American Stroke Association's "Get With The Guidelines-Stroke" Silver Performance Achievement Award, recognizing Emory's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Robert Bachman, chief operating officer, Emory University Hospital, says, "I am so pleased with the efforts and initiative of our medical and nursing staff to develop a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the hospital. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate. With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award certainly addresses the important element of time."

To receive the award, Emory consistently complied for at least one year with the requirements in the "Get With The Guidelines" program. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation. This 12-month evaluation period is the second in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85 percent compliance level needed to sustain this award.

"Receiving this honor is a tremendous validation for our program and for the patients we serve," says Fadi Nahab, MD, assistant professor of neurology, Emory School of Medicine. "Emory is well-equipped, staffed with the very best in physician and nursing expertise, and committed to providing the highest level of stroke care possible. Further, our compliance with implementation of evidence-based therapies for acute stroke help to ensure the best outcomes for stroke patients. These are all factors in positioning our hospital among the best stroke centers in the nation."

Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the "teachable moment," the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals' guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke. Through "Get With The Guidelines," customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the GWTG Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

"Being situated in what is typically referred to as the "Stroke Belt," it has never been more important for Emory - or healthcare in general - to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care," says Marilyn Margolis, MN, RN, director of nursing operations at Emory University Hospital. "The number of acute ischemic stroke patients who will require fast and effective treatment is expected to grow substantially over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population."

In 2006, Emory University Hospital was awarded Primary Stroke Center Certification by The Joint Commission. The certification is for rapid response in diagnosing and treating stroke patients using a multi-specialty approach, and for its exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care.

"There is absolutely no doubt that stroke is a growing menace to our society, particularly when factoring in the increasing aging population and incidence of obesity in the United States," says Jeannie Lightsey, RN, BSN, CNRN, Emory stroke program coordinator. "While it is wonderful to have a hospital like Emory that is ready to quickly treat stroke patients who come through our doors, prevention through sound lifestyle choices, or quickly recognizing the signs of stroke at its onset and calling 9-1-1, can help minimize the effects of a stroke, or help to avoid it altogether."

According to the American Stroke Association, each year approximately 795,000 people suffer a stroke - 610,000 are first attacks and 185,000 are recurrent. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States is suffering from a stroke.  This deadly condition accounts for 1 out of every 18 deaths in the United States.

"The American Stroke Association commends Emory University Hospital for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols," says Lee H. Schwamm, MD, vice-chair of the national "Get With the Guidelines" Steering Committee and vice-chair of the neurology department and director of acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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