Stroke Centers Save Lives According to New Study

Patients who had ischemic stroke and were admitted to hospitals designated as primary stroke centers had a lower risk of death at 30 days, compared to patients admitted to non-designated hospitals, according to a study in the January 26 issue of JAMA.

The study, by researchers at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, found the mortality rate for patients admitted to designated stroke centers was 2.4 percent lower than the mortality rate at non-designated hospitals.

According to Dr. Shyam Prabhakaran, director of the Stroke Program at Rush, the findings of this study are very significant. “A 2% difference in mortality translates into saving one life for every 50 patients. For a hospital that has 300 stroke patients a year, that is six more people saved than at a non-designated hospital,” said Prabhakaran.

Prabhakaran says there are many reasons why mortality is lower at a certified primary stroke center. “Stroke centers encompass all the things that work, including rapid evaluation by a stroke trained neurologist, an integrated stroke team of specialists including case managers and rehab specialists, higher use of tPA, stroke protocols to reduce errors and stroke units for admitted patients to lower complications of stroke,” said Prabhakaran. “Everyone is in tune with the needs of stroke patients. Stroke centers encompass these parts into one integrated system that provides a best-practice pathway to limit complications and enhance recovery from stroke.”

Rush is certified as a primary stroke center by the Joint Commission and has also been awarded the Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award by the American Stroke Association. The Rehabilitative Stroke Program at Rush has also been recognized for excellence by the Committee on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

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