SMH Wins the “Gold” for Stroke Care

Jul/15/2010

Think Fast GraphicSARASOTA (July 15, 2010) – Sarasota Memorial Hospital received the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines – Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award.

Sarasota Memorial already has been recognized by the state as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, offering patients the most options and latest treatments in stroke care.

To receive the latest designation – the Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award – Sarasota Memorial demonstrated the highest performance standards established by the American Heart Association. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and stroke education.

“This award affirms our commitment to treating stroke in our community”, said Dr. Mauricio Concha, M.D., medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. “Our treatment capabilities are increasing every year, but so are the conditions that commonly lead to stroke – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Prevention and early intervention remain our best defense.”

Nearly two million brain cells die every minute following a stroke, so the sooner treatment begins, the more likely you are to protect yourself from serious disability. While most patients can benefit from a clot-dissolving therapy (tPA) administered in many ERs, it must be given within three hours of the onset of stroke.

If you miss that three-hour window, more advanced treatments are available at Sarasota Memorial – Southwest Florida’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center. Sarasota Memorial offers clinical trials and advanced techniques, including intra-arterial and endovascular techniques not available at many other hospitals, to extract blood clots in the brain and repair cerebrovascular abnormalities when standard therapies are not effective or no longer safe to use.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke, according to the American Heart Association, and accounts for one out of every 18 deaths in this country. Stroke is the number one cause of disability in the United States.

High blood pressure remains the #1 risk factor for stroke, said Mary Lanier, MSN RN, Sarasota Memorial’s stroke program coordinator. “The best way to protect yourself from a stroke is to understand and reduce your risk factors. Managing high blood pressure, through diet, exercise or medication for example, can significantly reduce a person’s risk for stroke.”

The next most important step in protecting yourself is to treat the symptoms of a stroke like the emergency it is. Too many people dismiss seemingly minor symptoms only to be permanently disabled by a massive stroke a short time later, she said.

“Every minute a stroke victim doesn’t receive treatment they lose brain cells, which could lead to severe disability and even death,” Lanier said. “If you recognize any of the symptoms in yourself or someone else, immediately call 911, and have paramedics take to a hospital known for excellence in stroke care.”

About Sarasota Memorial’s Comprehensive Stroke Center
Every second counts when you're having a stroke … and so does the hospital that treats you. While most patients can benefit from a clot-dissolving therapy (tPA) administered in many ERs, it must be given within three hours of the onset of stroke. If you miss that important window of treatment, more advanced treatments are available at Sarasota Memorial – Southwest Florida’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center. Sarasota Memorial’s advanced technologies and specialists provide intra-arterial and endovascular techniques – not available at many other hospitals – to extract blood clots in the brain and repair cerebrovascular abnormalities when standard therapies are not effective or no longer safe to use.

Prevention is the best medicine.
Sarasota Memorial offers a variety of free education and prevention programs to help reduce your risk of stroke, including free screenings, diabetes education and nutrition/lifestyle coaching. For upcoming events, visit smh.com (community calendar). To learn more about preventing and treating stroke, visit smh.com/stroke or call 917-7777 for a free Think Stroke, Think FAST magnet.

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