MIAMI, FL ― Two Jackson Health System hospitals are being recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for their outstanding, life-saving stroke care. Jackson Memorial Hospital is the recipient of the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite Plus, and Jackson North Medical Center was awarded the Get With Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite. The awards recognize the hospitals’ commitment to providing the most appropriate stroke treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
“Every minute matters when it comes to treating stroke patients and giving them the best chance at recovery,” said Carlos A. Migoya, president and CEO of Jackson Health System. “This recognition is further proof that our stroke teams at Jackson are committed to delivering the most advanced stroke treatments to all of our patients quickly and safely.”
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, someone dies of a stroke every four minutes, and nearly 800,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
Among those stroke survivors is 26-year-old Miami resident Isabel Vinueza. In August 2015, her boyfriend noticed that her face was drooping and that she couldn’t speak clearly, so he dialed 911 immediately. Within minutes, paramedics arrived. Vinueza was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s comprehensive stroke center, where she was quickly assessed by the stroke team. They determined Vinueza was experiencing an acute ischemic stroke affecting the left hemisphere, language-dominant portion of her brain.
The stroke team immediately administered the standard clot-buster medication, Alteplase, an intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and the only FDA-approved drug to treat acute ischemic stroke given within three hours of the first symptoms. However, the danger was not over.
The CT scan revealed evidence of a clot blocking the largest blood vessel that supplies blood, oxygen and nutrients to the left side of Vinueza’s brain. More invasive therapy was required as the chance of IV tPA opening the blockage by itself was small.
Less than 30 minutes after first being met by the stroke team and receiving IV tPA, Vinueza was wheeled into a high-tech angiography suite at Jackson Memorial Hospital. There, doctors performed a recently approved, minimally invasive procedure to clear the blockage using a stent retrieval device that grabbed the clot inside the blocked brain artery and removed it through an artery in the leg. Instantly, the blood supply in Vinueza’s brain was completely restored. Today, she is healthy and grateful to the stroke team at Jackson Memorial for saving her life.
“I feel fortunate that I came out of this fine – that’s unheard of,” Vinueza said. “This team saved my life. They knew exactly what they were doing. I know how lucky I am.”
Hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures to receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
To qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Jackson Memorial and Jackson North earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.
“The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize Jackson Memorial Hospital and Jackson North Medical Center for its commitment to stroke care,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. “Research has shown there are benefits to patients who are treated at hospitals that have adopted the Get With The Guidelines program.”
These quality measures are designed to help hospital teams follow the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.
Get With The Guidelines®-S puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping hospital care teams ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal to save lives and improve recovery time, Get With The Guidelines®-S has impacted more than 3 million patients since 2003.