Health Team

Specialized stroke centers provide better patient care

Posted January 25, 2011
Updated January 27, 2011

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Out of 5,000 acute care hospitals nationwide, nearly 700 are designated stroke centers. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that stroke centers provided better care for their patients. 

Paul Stacy is doing well now, but just two days ago his outlook was quite different.

"I was getting disillusioned, nothing was making sense and I was getting weak on the left side," he said.

It was a stroke – and every second counts when it comes to getting treatment. EMS workers decided to bypass a closer hospital, so they could get Stacy to a designated stroke center, one with specialized medical teams that can quickly evaluate and treat patients efficiently.

"Those doctors, nurses and health providers, work together they provide an integrated and organized care to stroke patients," said Ying Xian, M.D., Ph.D. at Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Xian and other researchers examined data from almost 31,000 patients in New York state who were admitted to designated and non-designated stroke centers in one year with an acute ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot in the brain.

"Patients who are treated at stroke centers (could have) at least 2.5 percent lower risk of death than other patients in non-certified hospitals," Xian said.

The study showed that patients treated at stroke centers have a better chance of receiving drug therapy to dissolve the clot and minimize damage to the brain.


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  • maggielou32 Jan 28, 2011

    Seven years ago my mother had a stroke while I was with her. What a terrifying thing to witness. Within minutes she could not speak or stand and her face was drawn. Since I live in Smithfield she had to be taken to Johnston Memorial. I had to pitch a fit to get her looked at quickly, since I knew that if TPA were an option it had to be given quickly. Thankfully, they responded and did the necessary tests to determine it wasn't a bleeding stroke. She got the TPA shot and within 30 minutes recognized us again and her paralysis was gone. She wasn't herself completely for another twelve hours but she was left with NO noticeable impairment! Please insist that your loved ones be evaluated quickly to see if they are a candidate for TPA, even if they are at a smaller hospital. Johnston Medical Center saved my mom's life, but I had to be pushy about getting them to look at her. Once they came in her room, they were great!

  • CestLaVie Jan 27, 2011

    Hey Golo: Didn't like my comments yesterday? Do we live in Russia now where only comments in agreement with the management will be displayed?

  • lil157 Jan 26, 2011

    3 months ago my husband starting having mini strokes and I rushed him to Johnson Hospital emergency room! They did a MRI and rushed him to Johnsom hospital where he was admitted. He did fine that night. Next morning at 7 am I spoke with him via phone and he was still fine. He had another MRI schedualed at 8 am so I rushed to hospital and was waiting for him in his room. A male young orderly brought him back to his room and I took one look at my husband and knew he had just had a major stroke. (orderly did not know) I was so lucky to be there within minutes of the stroke and to realize that it was a stroke! I went yelling into the hall for a doctor and explained that I KNEW he had just had a major stroke! By me doing this they immediately started him on a blood thinner so that more damage was not done! I WAS LUCKY to be there!Minutes are crucial after a stroke! If blood thinners are not used further damage can be done to the brain! 3 months later my husband can now talk and walk.

  • carleerules123 Jan 26, 2011

    The major ones in the area are Duke, UNC, & WakeMed. See if this link helps

  • Iconoclast Jan 26, 2011

    So which hospitals in the WRAL viewing area are stroke centers?