From left: Ali Aziz-Sultan and Steven Feske

The Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases Center received advanced certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association on Nov. 15. This highly selective designation – awarded to only a small fraction of institutions in the U.S. – recognizes hospitals that meet the standards to treat the most complex stroke patients.

“This certification reflects our ability to care for these patients from the moment they come into our ED until they are discharged from our specialized unit,” said Linda Bresette, DNP, NP-C, director of the Brigham Health Stroke Program. “Our highly trained, multidisciplinary staff worked together to showcase how our stroke patients receive advanced, individualized care that’s grounded in science and delivered with compassion.”

To become certified, BWH underwent a rigorous on-site review by Joint Commission experts who evaluated all aspects of complex stroke care. This includes the initial assessment, treatment protocols, advanced imaging, and state-of-the-art facilities for urgent intervention and intensive care. The certification reflects that BWH meets advanced standards of stroke care and has provided evidence of successful performance on more than 18 quality measures. All BWH clinicians demonstrated advanced education and competency.

“This certification recognizes our multidisciplinary team of specialists who deliver the best in stroke care. It acknowledges our advanced diagnostic and treatment capabilities, and allows us to provide the most comprehensive medical, interventional and surgical therapies,” said Steven Feske, MD, chief of the Division of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases and medical director of BWH’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. 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.

To improve outcomes for stroke patients, BWH provides pre-arrival evaluation and treatment planning, accelerating treatment for patients transferred to BWH for advanced stroke care. The center also offers remote physician consultations via telemedicine. Once at the Brigham, patients receive rapid assessment by expert clinicians who have access to neuro-interventional suites and a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit. Additionally, BWH researchers investigate groundbreaking approaches to stroke management in several national clinical trials.

“Stroke is a life-threatening emergency, and the greatest chance for recovery from stroke occurs when treatment is started immediately after the onset of symptoms,” said Ali Aziz-Sultan, MD, Neurosurgical director of BWH’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. “Newer stroke therapies offered at BWH, such as endovascular treatments, can rapidly reestablish blood flow and restore patients’ health.”

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