Utah Valley Regional Medical Center

(801) 357-7850Map1034 North 500 WestProvo, UT 84604

'Gold Plus' Stroke Care Available at Utah Valley Regional

Janet Frank

 (801) 357-7766



Utah Valley Regional Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

Only two hospitals in Utah have received this level of recognition. McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, another Intermountain Healthcare facility, is the other hospital to receive the award.

To receive the award, Utah Valley Regional achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as t-PA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“This award says a lot for our Stroke Team, hospitalists, family practice physicians/residents, intensivists, and our rehabilitation physicians,” said Jeanie Hammer, RN, Stroke Services coordinator. “We are always striving to provide quality care for our patients and this award shows what we are currently able to offer to the community.”

Such a high level of care is illustrated in two recent patient stories:
• A 90-year-old man arrived at Utah Valley at 10:51 a.m. Stroke team members had been paged prior to arrival and the neurologist was in the Emergency Department (ED) to see the patient at 10:52 a.m. The patient had left side weakness of the face, arm and leg; difficulty speaking and difficulty with swallowing. Due to prompt actions by the Stroke Team, this patient received clot busting medication (tissue plasminogen activator, t-PA) within 53 minutes of his arrival. He showed rapid improvement in the ED and stayed only four days in the hospital.
• A 78-year-old man arrived at Utah Valley at 9:05 a.m. Orem paramedics had been called after the man felt dizzy in the shower and fell to the floor at his home. The patient underwent a CT scan just 23 minutes after arrival to the ED and received the clot busting medication (t-PA) just
56 minutes after he arrived. In addition, the Stroke Team had offered the patient further treatment measures in Interventional Radiology, but due to the patient’s dramatic improvement in the ED, it was determined that no further intervention was needed. The patient started moving his arm and leg, smiling symmetrically, and speaking much more fluently. It was apparent the t-PA had worked. It had dissolved the blood clot and restored the blood flow in the brain.

Hammer said Utah Valley Regional, the county’s only Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center, is able to provide very comprehensive treatment for acute stroke due to the excellent group physicians who practice at the hospital. Less than 100 hospitals nationwide are able to offer both intravenous and intra-arterial stroke therapies.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines award demonstrates Utah Valley Regional’s commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Carl Black, MD, an interventional radiologist and co-medical director of the Utah Valley Regional Stroke Team. “We’ll continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols.”

Dr. Black said there’s a three-hour window where stroke patients can receive aggressive clot-busting medications. However, new research is showing that the quicker medication is given, the better. This is prompting all of Intermountain facilities that treat stroke to set the goal of getting patients to a CT scan within 25 minutes of arrival and receiving the medication within 60 minutes.
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