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St. John Providence Eclipses National Average in Providing Lifesaving Stroke Treatment

St. John Providence Health System
Neuroscience, Stroke
Thursday, February 20, 2014

St. John Providence Eclipses National Average in Providing Lifesaving Stroke Treatment

Media Contact: Brian Taylor, 586-753-0726.

Warren- While a recent found that only tiny percentage of the patients received a clot busting treatment for strokes, that number is higher than the national average at St. John Providence Health.

A University of Cincinnati study, presented recently at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s annual International Stroke Conference 2014 in San Diego, found that a vast majority of Americans live within an hour’s drive of a hospital able to treat acute stroke, but only 4 percent receive recommended treatment in the key hours after stroke.

The only FDA approved treatment for ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator, tPA. It is delivered via an IV in the arm. tPA works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. If administered within 3 hours (and up to 4.5 hours in certain eligible patients), tPA may improve the chances of recovering from a stroke. A significant number of stroke victims don’t get to the hospital in time for tPA treatment; this is why it’s so important to identify a stroke immediately.

“Within St. John Providence Health System, we have worked closely with our affiliated hospitals and EMS to standardize protocols and time to treatment. Our facilities and affiliates deliver intravenous tPA at 3 to 4 times the national average,” according to Dr. Richard Fessler, endovascular neurosurgeon with St. John Providence.

Dr. Fessler says SJPH’s core group of dedicated neurologists, emergency physicians and neuroendovascular specialists collaborate on every stroke patient to ensure appropriate rapid treatment is available to all tPA eligible patients.

A stroke occurs when a vessel in the brain ruptures or is blocked by a blood clot. Stroke medical treatments work to either open the blockage or treat the rupture.

According to a University of Cincinnati news release, researchers determined that 81 percent of the U.S. population could reach a hospital that can deliver IV tPA by ground within an hour, while 56 percent could reach a hospital that can perform endovascular therapy. But out of 370,351 hospital discharges for acute ischemic stroke, only 14,926 (4 percent) received IV tPA. Another 1,889 (0.5 percent) had endovascular therapy.

In the news release, Opeolu Adeoye, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati, said that factors that contribute to low acute stroke treatments rates include patient ineligibility for acute therapies and delay in seeking medical attention and system factors such as poor public education for stroke warning signs, delays by pre-hospital personnel, triage to hospitals less likely to deliver acute stroke therapy and delays in emergency department/in-hospital delays.

At St. John Providence Health System's Certified Stroke Centers, the nation's leading stroke specialists offer the very best in state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and therapeutic interventions. St. John Providence Health System’s Van Elslander Neuroscience Center of Excellence is committed to providing timely, advanced stroke care to patients, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—no matter where they live. Last year alone, SHPHS treated over 1,600 stroke patients.

SJPHS offers neurological assessments of patients with stroke-like symptoms using state-of-the-art technology, including imaging techniques. Utilizing audiovisual technology and broadband wireless Internet, our stroke specialists work with affiliate sites to remotely examine patients, recommend diagnostic tests and discuss treatment decisions with medical staff, patients and their families.