Capital Health Receives American Stroke Association's Gold Award Recognizing Outstanding Stroke Care

Trenton, NJ (March 2, 2010) – Capital Health has been awarded the American Stroke Association's Get with the GuidelinesSM - Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Capital Health's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care. Capital Health is the only hospital in Mercer County to achieve this designation.

Capital Health's Stroke Committee was part of the effort that led to Capital Health earning the American Stroke Association's Get with the GuidelinesSM-Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get with the Guidelines–Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time," said Dr. James Ware, Medical Director for Capital Health's Stroke Program. "Capital Health has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide advanced brain imaging scans, having neurologists and neurosurgeons specializing in cerebrovascular disease available to conduct patient evaluations, and using clot-busting medications when appropriate."

To receive the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award, American Heart Association requires that a hospital demonstrate at least 85% adherence in the Get with the Guidelines–Stroke key measures for 24 or more consecutive months. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. Capital Health consistently exceeded the required adherence rate.

"At Capital Health we are providing the most advanced and comprehensive care available. We have continually invested in our stroke program, and are proud that these investments are being acknowledged by organizations such as the American Stroke Association," said Erol Veznedaroglu, Director, Neurosciences and Endovascular & Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery, Capital Health. "This is a recognition of the staff here at Capital Health who day in and day out commit themselves to providing outstanding care to patients who need the most advanced, dedicated care available."

Capital Health has previously been recognized with the Silver level award and prior to that the Bronze award.

"The American Stroke Association commends Capital Health for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., 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."

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–¬Stroke, 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 Get with the Guidelines Patient Management Tool* provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

Capital Health Regional Medical Center and Mercer hospital are Joint Commission certified stroke centers and Capital Health Regional Medical Center is a NJ State Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Mercer hospital is a state primary stroke center. The hospital also opened the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center of NJ last year further committing itself to providing state of art advanced care for stroke patients. The center features two of nation's most experienced neurosurgeons and provides the latest in neurosurgical techniques, including both traditional and minimally invasive approaches, for stroke patients as well as for those suffering from other cerebrovascular diseases.

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.

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