Two High Quality Achievement Awards for Stroke Center

For the fifth consecutive year, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has awarded the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Stroke Center with its 2014 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award.

April 24, 2014

First In U.S. To Achieve National Target Goal Using Primarily MRI To Treat Acute Stroke


Washington, D.C. April 23, 2014 —
For the fifth consecutive year, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has awarded the MedStar Washington Hospital Center Stroke Center with its 2014 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award.

It also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for getting eligible stroke patients the clot-busting drugs within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as door-to-needle time). In addition, the hospital achieved the honor roll by using MRI screening, a technique that is not widely practiced at other stroke centers. The Hospital Center is one of the few in the nation to use MRI as first line imaging in the diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke. CT is typically the preferred imaging method because of its universal availability.

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize this hospital for achieving 85% of higher adherence to all Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for consecutive 12 month intervals and 75% or higher compliance with 5 of 8 Get With The Guidelines Stroke Quality Measures to improve quality of patient care and outcomes in addition to achieving Time to Intravenous Thrombolytic Therapy ≤ 60 minutes in 50% of more of applicable acute ischemic stroke patients (minimum of 6) during one calendar quarter.

Stroke-Honor-RollLast August, the Hospital Center stroke response team twice broke its record on back-to-back days and saved two lives, all in just 37 minutes, using MRI.“This was no easy task to obtain, since a brain MRI takes longer to perform than a CT scan. However, MRI gives more detailed and specific information about the brain that helps us to determine the most appropriate treatment,” said Amie Hsia, MD, medical director of the Hospital Center Stroke Center. “For us to achieve this significant milestone and to be recognized for our efforts are both great testaments to our multidisciplinary team, for its dedication in improving the lives of our patients.”

The sooner the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, is given within four and a half hours of the onset of symptoms, the more likely patients are to have good recovery and less disability.

“We know that time is of the essence when it comes to stroke treatment,” added Karen Poole, RN, MSN, PCCN, CCRN, a stroke coordinator at the Hospital Center Stroke Center. “We have been a leader in advancing stroke research, treatment, and prevention, and these two significant distinctions demonstrate that we can do so, while also improving the quality of care and outcomes of our patients.”

The Hospital Center earned the Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold-Plus award by achieving 85 percent or higher adherence to all Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals. It also had to achieve 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Stroke Quality Measures, which include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

“Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparity gaps in care,” added Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “We commend MedStar Washington Hospital Center for their dedication to stroke care.”

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 50 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for the most complex tertiary services. It consistently ranks among the nation’s top hospitals as recognized by U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital Center is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, orthopaedics, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, one of the country’s top shock-trauma and medevac programs, and also operates the region’s only adult burn center.