Mercy notes one-year anniversary of Heart-Check mark


SPRINGFIELD – Feb. 7 marked the first anniversary of Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center earning The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers.

“Springfield Regional Medical Center underwent rigorous onsite reviews to earn this certification, which affirms that we provide exceptional stroke care for our patients,” said Matt Caldwell, Mercy Health – Springfield CEO and Senior Vice President. “Rapid access to a primary stroke center allows for more timely administration of treatment for patients experiencing a stroke and leads to better long-term health outcomes.”

People experience a stroke when a vessel in the brain ruptures or a clot blocks a vessel. Quick treatment is essential to survival.

Since Springfield Regional Medical Center earned the certification last February through March 9, 2018, the emergency department has:

-Treated 284 Ischemic stroke patients, 33 hemorrhagic stroke patients and 123 transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients

-Administered Activase (alteplase) to 43 patients

-Exceeded The Joint Commission standard that 50% of acute ischemic stroke patients receive Activase (alteplase) within 60 minutes or less upon Emergency Department arrival – the emergency department’s fastest Activase (alteplase) administration time is 28 minutes

“There is a certain population of patients who can develop an acute ischemic stroke due to their disease process, for example, patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation or sepsis,” said Ruth Shade, emergency department director at Springfield Regional Medical Center. “We’ve trained all of our hospital employees to recognize stroke symptoms and activate a stroke alert when they see the symptoms. A stroke alert allows for faster stroke treatment.”

Six patients who were admitted to the hospital with other diagnoses and developed stroke symptoms while in the hospital received Activase (alteplase) under the stroke alert protocol.

Local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) teams can also call a stroke alert from the field when the paramedics have a suspicion that the patient is having an acute stroke.

The stroke alert triggers the following coordinated sequence of events to ensure optimal patient care:

1. Emergency Department physician, nurses and technicians meet the patient at the EMS entrance

2. The Radiology Department clears a bed so the patient can go directly radiology for a head computed tomography (CT) scan following physician assessment

3. The lab draws and processes the patient’s blood quickly

4. The pharmacy pre-calculates Activase (alteplase) dose as needed. Activase (alteplase) is a tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). The only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes is tPA, which works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow

Established in 2003, Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers” (JAMA, 2000) and the “Revised and Updated Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers” (Stroke, 2011).

Submitted story

Submitted by Mercy Health.

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