HOUSTON (May 15, 2018)

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center was recently honored by the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) for providing outstanding stroke care that has resulted in countless numbers of saved lives.

The hospital’s stroke program earned SETRAC’s Stroke System of Care Award for hospitals with more than 250 beds, an honor given as part of the organization’s biennial recognition of regional healthcare providers who demonstrate high levels of performance.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the tremendous effort we have poured into creating a stroke center that puts patients first,” said Dr. Sunil A. Sheth, MD, a Vascular and Interventional Neurologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Neurology at McGovern Medical Center at UTHealth. “Every minute counts in stroke. And I am proud to say that we can now ensure that all our patients can receive comprehensive treatment with the latest innovative technology when and where they need it.”

Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, striking more than 800,000 people every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is often caused by a blood clot that lodges in an artery of the brain and prevents vital blood flow and oxygen to the brain, killing as many as 2 million brain cells every minute.

Time is of the essence, and improved patient outcomes can be achieved by expediting a patient’s diagnosis and treatment when a stroke is suspected, including administering a clot-busting agent called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, as quickly as possible. If given within the first three hours following the onset of stroke symptoms, tPA has been proven to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance for permanent disability. In addition, doctors are now able to perform a minimally invasive procedure called thrombectomy to mechanically remove the blood clot as well. This treatment is just as time sensitive, and has been shown to dramatically improve the outcomes of patients suffering from stroke.

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center has taken several steps to ensure patients are getting timely and appropriate treatment. These include raising awareness in the community about the signs and symptoms of a stroke and encouraging them to call 911 immediately; educating Emergency Center staff, including non-clinical employees, about the subtle signs of a stroke so that they can identify stroke patients early and help jumpstart the treatment process; and deploying a one-stop-shop phone number that allows for consistent access and standardized escalation for neuro consults.

Additionally, the hospital has empowered both nurses and physicians to initiate a “Code Stroke” and, in some cases, they can begin tPA administration in the same room where a patient is undergoing a CT scan. Another benefit for stroke patients is the hospital’s affiliation with McGovern Medical School and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, which allows patients who come in after-hours to be evaluated for strokes by a TeleNeurology program.

Thanks to these efforts, the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center stroke team has been able to achieve accelerated care for stroke patients and perform stroke thrombectomies 24/7.

The SETRAC acknowledgement is the latest accolade for the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center stroke care program. Last year, the program earned the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association (ASA)’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus-Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Award, its highest honor for stroke care.

Learn more about neuroscience services offered at Memorial Hermann, including its advanced stroke care program.