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Wyoming Medical Center earns American Stroke Association’s highest honor for stroke care

By kbleizeffer Mar 2, 2015

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The American Stroke Association recently gave Wyoming Medical Center its highest possible honor for quick, life-saving stroke care.

Wyoming Medical Center won the American Stroke Association’s highest level of recognition at the 2015 International Stroke Conference Feb. 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. We achieved Target: Stroke Honor Roll – Elite Plus status for quick treatment of stroke patients in our Emergency Room.

This is the first year the American Stroke Association has awarded hospitals the Elite Plus status. Out of about 1,000 stroke centers in the country, we were one of just about 30 to achieve the highest possible designation. The Elite Plus status is given to hospitals that:

  • Demonstrate a door-to-needle time within 60 minutes in 75 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients AND
  • Demonstrate a door-to-needle time within 45 minutes in 50 percent of acute ischemic stroke patients.

Door-to-needle time is the time from when a patient arrives at the ER to the time the clot buster tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) is administered intravenously. Wyoming Medical Center administers tPA to most patients within 45 minutes, and often in as little as 30 minutes.

“Among my proudest professional achievements is leading an amazing team that has built our Primary Stroke Center from the ground up. This is only possible in our small town because of the passion for quality and excellence exhibited by team members from every part of Wyoming Medical Center,” said Dr. David Wheeler, medical director of our Primary Stroke Center and a neurologist at Wyoming Neurologic Associates.

Wyoming Medical Center has also earned the ASA’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Award for meeting or exceeding standards in stroke care for three consecutive years. It’s the seventh year in a row we’ve been recognized by the American Stroke Association.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. It is caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain, and the longer it takes to clear the clot, the greater chance for brain damage. Stroke patients have a 3- to 4 1/2-hour window from onset of symptoms to receive tPA, and Get With the Guidelines sets a target of door-to-needle time of 60 minutes or less.

Wyoming Medical Center’s Primary Stroke Center is Wyoming’s only center certified by the Joint Commission. Our stroke team is made up of members from nearly every department in the hospital including EMS, ER nurses and physicians, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, ICU, neurology, therapies, case managers and more. The team meets monthly to analyze the latest data, collaborate on best care practices and troubleshoot areas that need improvement.

“The team approach is very important to getting the best and fastest stroke treatment,” said Melody Bowar, stroke coordinator at Wyoming Medical Center. “Over the years, we’ve built upon our stroke team and we want to involve all departments in the hospital to develop a seamless process.”

The Get With The Guidelines Stroke program helps medical teams utilize the most up-to-date, research-based protocols and best practices. Measures include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies designed to reduce disability and death. The program also helps teams implement prevention measures, such as educating patients and families on how to manage risk factors, recognize warning signs and take medication properly.