American Heart Association Recognizes Swedish's Stroke Patient Care

American Heart Association Recognizes Swedish's Stroke Patient Care

SEATTLE, Feb. 8, 2007 – Today Swedish received the Get With The GuidelinesSM – Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) Sustained Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association at the 2007 International Stroke Conference in San Francisco. Swedish is one of just six medical centers in the United States to receive the prestigious award this year.

Swedish was honored with this recognition for its aggressive goal of treating stroke patients with at least 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for stroke patients for 24 or more consecutive months. The guidelines include aggressive use of medications like tPA (the "clot-busting" drug), antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

GWTG-Stroke is an in-hospital program designed to improve acute stroke treatment and prevent future strokes and cardiovascular events. GWTG-Stroke focuses on quick diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients through Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Centers. It also involves care-team protocols once patients are admitted to ensure they are treated and discharged appropriately. GWTG-Stroke was first introduced in 2004 and has 501 hospitals currently participating.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG-Stroke Performance Achievement Award recognizes success in improving time to treatment along with other aspects of stroke care," said Gregg Fonarow, M.D., American Heart Association volunteer chairman for the national GWTG Steering Committee. "Improving the care received by stroke patients can improve their clinical outcomes after an event. We are proud of Swedish's hard work and want to commend them for implementing lifesaving standards and protocols for stroke care."

Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in this country. Each year, about 700,000 people suffer a stroke – 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. On average, every 45 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. Each year, about 46,000 more women than men have a stroke. And, among stroke survivors age 40 and older, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die one year after a first stroke. In 2007, it is estimated that Americans will pay about $62.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability.

"Swedish is dedicated to making our patient care for stroke patients among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's GWTG program helps us accomplish that by providing our professionals with tools and resources to improve the quality of care and long-term outcomes of our stroke patients," said William Likosky, M.D., medical director of Swedish's Stroke Program. "We accept this award on behalf of our stroke patients, who are the reason we strive for excellence."

Implementing GWTG-Stroke includes several steps. The first step is for participating hospitals to develop a Primary Stroke Center within their facility to strengthen acute stroke service delivery infrastructure.

Swedish earned the distinction of becoming the first Primary Stroke Center in Western Washington in November 2004. At that time, Swedish was one of the first 40 hospitals in the country (out of more than 5,700 hospitals nationwide) to be awarded certification for the First Hill and Cherry Hill (formerly Providence) campuses. In December 2006, Swedish's Ballard and Issaquah campuses earned certification, and the First Hill and Cherry Hill campuses were awarded recertification. Currently, there are only nine Primary Stroke Centers in Washington state.

Expected benefits of becoming a Primary Stroke Center include improved efficiency of patient care; reduced morbidity and mortality among patients; reduced costs to the health-care system; improved long-term outcomes; and increased patient satisfaction. The next step is to identify GWTG champions and build a team. Then, the medical center must assess current treatment rates by collecting data on 30 patients and determine a baseline and areas for improvement. Subsequently, the hospital must refine their processes, protocols and system. And next, implement the changes. Finally, the hospital must commit to continuing the program and their pursuit of clinical excellence.

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About Swedish
Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive, nonprofit health provider in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1910, it now has more than 7,200 employees and a medical staff of more than 2,300 physicians, most of which are private practitioners. Swedish now encompasses three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill (formerly Providence) and Ballard – totaling 1,245 licensed beds, a new freestanding emergency room and specialty center in Issaquah, Swedish Home Care Services and Swedish Physicians – a network of 12 primary-care clinics located throughout the Greater Seattle area. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, neurological care, sleep medicine, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org

About Swedish Neuroscience Institute
In 2004, Swedish Medical Center expanded its neuroscience services by establishing the Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI). The team of leading neurosurgeons and other specialists are building a world-class institute dedicated solely to the treatment and advancement of neurological disorders for patients in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. The Swedish Medical Center/Cherry Hill (formerly Providence) Campus has been designated as the hub for the Institute and is being upgraded with four state-of-the-art operating rooms some with neuro-interventional radiology capabilities, and a renovated neuro intensive-care unit. Although the Institute is based at Swedish/Cherry Hill, neuroscience research and treatment continues to be a multi-campus program. SNI specializes in the research for and treatment of stroke, movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, tremors and Tourette's syndrome; epilepsy; child neurological disorders; neuro-ophthalmology; headaches; multiple sclerosis and many other neurological conditions and diseases. For more information on the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, call 206-320-4144 or 1-800-331-1733 or visit www.swedish.org

About GWTG
Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG) is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's hospital-based program designed to ensure patients are consistently treated and discharged according to evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for stroke, heart failure, and coronary artery disease. GWTG was the first hospital-based program to receive the prestigious Innovation in Prevention Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004. For more information, visit www.americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines

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