DALLAS Aug. 24, 2010 The Joint Commission has certified UT Southwestern University Hospital St. Paul as a Primary Stroke Center, a distinction for hospitals fostering specialized stroke care for patients.
Expertly trained stroke teams of neurologists, imaging specialists, nurses and technicians have ready access to the technology and medications that can limit damage during or after a stroke. Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation's third-leading cause of death.
"Time and expertise in stroke care are critical factors that dramatically affect the outcome for stroke victims," said Dr. Mark Johnson, associate professor of neurology and one of the team leaders. "Having a trained stroke response team and the dedicated technology and medicine available in the ER allows us to rapidly identify and assess suspected stroke patients. The more quickly and accurately we can diagnose the patient's condition, the sooner proper treatments can get started."
Some medications, for example, need to be administered within a few hours of a stroke's onset in order to be effective, Dr. Johnson added.
A 2010 study in the journal Stroke found that stroke centers following national guidelines recorded fewer fatalities and reduced institutional care a year later compared with general hospitals; had lower mortality rates during a nine-year follow-up; and increased median survival by one year.
UT Southwestern's multidisciplinary cerebrovascular program positions neurologists, neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons with vascular, endovascular and critical-care expertise to treat all forms of stroke and blood-vessel disease affecting the brain and spinal cord, including complex case referrals throughout Texas and the surrounding five-state area.
"Gold-standard stroke therapy begins with comprehensive, personalized care," said neurology chairman Dr. Mark Goldberg, who directs the B
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UT Southwestern Medical Center