When You Have Stroke, You Need a Stroke Ready Hospital

Not every hospital is prepared to treat a patient suffering from a dangerous stroke in the brain.  McLeod Hospital Neurologist Dr. Tim Hagen describes what it takes to be a “stroke-ready” emergency department or hospital and how you can find one:

Here’s an overview of Dr. Hagen’s comments:

What is a stroke-ready emergency department? It’s an emergency room that’s tuned into seeing and treating acute stroke. If you go to an Emergency Room that’s not stroke-ready, you won’t have a team trained to look for strokes.                                                                                                                                

At a stroke-ready hospital, when a patient comes in suffering stroke-like symptoms, they’ll be fast-tracked for stroke evaluation. The reason is that time is brain – the faster the treatment the less chance of long-term damage.

With the acute stroke-ready hospital, the criteria calls for rapid assessment. In order to assess that patient, you need to be able to swiftly get a head CT image. If there is no brain bleed on the head CT image, then, you may be a candidate for the clot buster drug tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), which currently can be administered up to 4.5 hours after the stroke.

A further treatment for acute stroke is thrombectomy, where we try to take the clot out of a large blood vessel in the brain. This procedure dramatically reduces the stroke symptoms. Thrombectomy is now the standard of care where, if you’re an appropriate candidate, and we remove the clot out of your brain, you’re able to have a 70 percent improvement from your stroke.

You can find Stroke-Ready Hospitals in the McLeod system anywhere that McLeod has an Emergency Department. So, if you’re in Dillon, Cheraw, Florence, Seacoast, Loris or Clarendon — all those Emergency Departments are accredited as Acute Stroke Ready, as documented and credentialed by the guidelines of DNV GL Healthcare, a world-leading certification body.  DNV GL Healthcare helps their customers achieve excellency by improving quality and patient safety through hospital accreditation.