CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center has been certified by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, a new level of certification reserved for institutions with specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex stroke cases.
UC Medical Center is home to the UC Neuroscience Institute (UCNI), one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health. UCNI’s 12 centers and programs focusing on the main diseases of the brain and nerves include the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center.
UC Medical Center becomes the 47th institution to receive the Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center designation since it was launched by the Joint Commission in September 2012 in partnership with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and with the guidance of the Brain Attack Coalition. There is no higher stroke certification.
The Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization which accredits over 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, also has certified over 900 Primary Stroke Centers, UC Medical Center’s previous designation. The new level of certification recognizes the significant resources in infrastructure, staff, and training that comprehensive stroke centers must have to provide state-of-the-art complex stroke care.
"This designation, which places us in the top tier of institutions that provide stroke-related care, is a testament to the hard work of our team of caregivers,” says Dawn Kleindorfer, MD, a professor in the UC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine and co-director of the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center with Mario Zuccarello, MD, Frank H. Mayfield Professor of Neurosurgery and chair of the UC Department of Neurosurgery. "Our team prides itself on providing the best possible care for stroke patients in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.”
"The designation confirms what we have long known: that a person who suffers a stroke, or is at risk of stroke, will receive outstanding care at the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center,” says Zuccarello. "We are especially prepared to take care of the most complex cerebrovascular cases.
"This care ranges from interventional treatments that prevent stroke, to emergency care for acute stroke, to surgical treatments following ischemic or bleeding stroke. The treatments are guided by research, much of which was performed right here at UC.”
The Joint Commission has a rigorous application process with a number of requirements for advanced certification, including volume of cases, advanced imaging capabilities, post-hospital care coordination of patients, dedicated neuro-intensive care unit (ICU) beds for complex stroke patients, peer review process, participation in stroke research and performance measures.
The Comprehensive Stroke Center, together with the UC Stroke Team and the surgical/interventional neurovascular program, provides a multidisciplinary center for stroke prevention and the treatment of transient ischemic attack (TIA), ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage, aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, moyamoya disease and other cerebrovascular conditions.
Among the center’s key programs and accomplishments:
• The UC Stroke Team, founded as the first multidisciplinary stroke team in the U.S. during the mid-1980s, provides in-person on-site stroke evaluation for acute stroke therapy around the clock at 15 regional hospitals, as well as consultation at over 20 other regional hospitals.
• In 2012, the UC Neuroscience Institute and UC Medical Center launched a major initiative to bring the expertise of the UC Stroke Team to partner hospitals through telestroke, the use of telemedicine specifically for stroke care.
• UC researchers played a leading role in developing and testing the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, to treat acute ischemic stroke. Such a stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked, typically by a blood clot. Intravenous tPA is the only FDA-approved treatment for stroke caused by a blood clot.
• UC led the largest interventional stroke trial in the world, along with leadership of national treatment studies of intracerebral hemorrhage, genetic studies of intracerebral hemorrhage and aneurysms and the largest ongoing biracial population-based study of stroke in the U.S.
• UC researchers also direct neurorecovery/neuroimaging studies in stroke recovery, participate in the major medical and surgical prevention studies and have an active translational laboratory studying preclinical models of stroke and cerebrovascular disease.