American Heart Association Recognizes Swedish's Stroke Program for Fifth Straight Year

American Heart Association Recognizes Swedish's Stroke Program for Fifth Straight Year

SEATTLE, March 24, 2009 – The Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) Stroke Program recently received the American Stroke Association’s Get with The Guidelines™–Stroke (GWTG–Stroke) Gold Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes SNI’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive a comprehensive set of evidence-based evaluations and treatments and that the program can demonstrate delivery over a period of at least 24 months.

Although this is the fourth straight year Swedish received the Gold Performance Achievement Award, it’s actually the fifth straight year SNI’s Stroke Program has been recognized since its 2004 award was for ‘initial’ achievement of one year compliance.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the GWTG–Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” said SNI Stroke Program Director William Likosky, M.D. Swedish has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to its emergency departments and inpatient settings. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

To receive the GWTG-Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award, Swedish demonstrated 85-percent adherence in the GWTG–Stroke key measures for 24 or more consecutive months. These include aggressive use of medications like the clot-busting drug tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol-reducing drugs, and smoking cessation.

“The American Stroke Association commends Swedish for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and director of the acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

“The time is right for Swedish to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing GWTG–Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population,” said SNI Stroke Program Manager Tammy Cress, R.N., M.S.N., F.A.H.A.

According to the American Stroke Association, each year approximately 700,000 people suffer a stroke – 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.


Earning a Get with The Guidelines™–Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award


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 and again in 2008, Swedish’s Ballard and Issaquah campuses earned certification, and the First Hill and Cherry Hill campuses were awarded recertification. Currently, there are only 13 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.


About Swedish


Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive, nonprofit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses, a freestanding emergency room and specialty center in Issaquah, Swedish Home Care Services, and the Swedish Physician Division. 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, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit


About the Swedish Neuroscience Institute


In 2004, Swedish expanded its neuroscience services by establishing the Swedish Neuroscience Institute. 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 beyond. Swedish/Cherry is the hub for the Institute and now includes four state-of-the-art operating rooms featuring intra-operative MRI, CT scanning and neuro-interventional radiology capabilities; a renovated neuro intensive-care unit; and a CyberKnife® facility for radiosurgical treatment of tumors throughout the body. SNI specializes in the research for and treatment of stroke; cerebral aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations; movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and tremors; brain tumors; neuro-endocrine disorders including pituitary tumors; epilepsy; child neurological disorders; neuro-ophthalmology; headaches; multiple sclerosis and many other neurological conditions and diseases. In each category, physicians from different specialties work together to provide a multi-disciplinary approach centered on providing top-notch patient care. SNI’s Stroke Program includes TeleStroke, which is a telemedicine-enabled system that allows Swedish’s Stroke-Certified team to provide stroke evaluation and consultation services to remotely located emergency department (ED) physicians 24/7. The program currently provides telestroke support services to two of Swedish’s more remote emergency departments (Ballard and Issaquah) as well as to Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon and Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend, Wash.

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