UW News

December 14, 2010

Harborview Medical Center named to Target: Stroke Honor Roll

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

The UW Medicine Stroke Center at Harborview has been recognized for excellence in emergency stroke care on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll by the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association. Harborview is one of a select group of hospitals in the U.S. — and the first in Washington — to make the list.

Launched in February 2010, Target: Stroke is designed to improve outcomes for patients with ischemic strokes — the most common type related to blocked or reduced blood flow — by helping hospitals achieve door-to-needle times of 60 minutes or less for the administration of rt-PA (intravenous recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator) to eligible patients. Recognition on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll involves consistently achieving multiple, gold standard time targets for emergency stroke care.

“The UW Medicine Stroke Center at Harborview continues to build its reputation as a comprehensive stroke center that meets the specialized needs of stroke patients and improves long-term outcomes,” said Harborview Medical Center Executive Director Eileen Whalen. “This recognition validates the UW Medicine Health System approach to stroke care as a best practice,” she said.

According to Target: Stroke information provided by the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association, one minute of brain ischemia can kill 2 million nerve cells and 14 billion synapses — underscoring the fact that the more time that elapses before blood is restored to the brain, the slimmer the odds of a good outcome. The upside is a great opportunity to improve outcomes simply by providing “the right treatment, right away,” Whalen said.

“Our board-certified stroke specialists and multidisciplinary specialty care teams have been at the forefront of developing protocols for the emergency treatment of stroke — recognizing that the sooner normal blood is restored to the brain, the better the chance for recovery,” said Dr. Anthony M. Avellino, director of the UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute and UW professor of neurological surgery.

The UW Medicine Stroke Center at Harborview is co-directed by Dr. Kyra Becker, UW professor of neurology and neurological surgery, and Dr. David Tirschwell, UW associate professor of neurology.

UW Medicine Health System is improving people’s health in greater Puget Sound, the Pacific Northwest, and around the globe. It provides primary and specialty care to patients, trains tomorrow’s health professionals and biomedical researchers, and advances scientific discovery. The entities of UW Medicine are Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Airlift Northwest. UW Medicine is one of three entities that comprise the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. UW Medicine is the country’s top public institution in National Institutes of Health funding. Its faculty includes 4 Nobel Prize laureates, 33 Institute of Medicine members, and 32 National Academy of Sciences members. Its medical school is regarded as the nation’s leader in preparing primary-care and rural physicians through its five-state regional education program.

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