Monday, August 9, 2010

Strokes Up; Recognition of Signs Is Credited

Carilion Clinic, which has just won a Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (CRMH), has seen the number of patients being treated has almost doubled in the past 12 months.

“We don’t think this means that a lot more people are suddenly having strokes”, says Carilion Clinic Neurologist Dr. Sidney Mallenbaum, M.D., medical director of the stroke unit. “Rather, we’ve been able to identify more strokes, and get people in for treatment while the stroke is still treatable.” In June 2009, CRMH treated 43 emergency stroke patients.

In June 2010, the number of stroke patients jumped to 80, the highest of the past 12 months.
June capped a 12-month period that saw a significant increase in cases, beginning last December.

Carilion Clinic has been working towards improved stroke care for several months, starting with the “Know the Five” campaign for heart attack and stroke, educating the public about the signs of stroke and encouraging people to seek emergency treatment quickly.

Treatment options at Carilion Clinic include medication therapy to dissolve the clot causing the stroke, and an interventional therapy in which a device can actually pull a clot out of the brain.

“These treatments can often bring a remarkable recovery, with little or no lasting damage, if we can get the patient in for treatment quickly enough,” Mallenbaum says.

In June, CRMH received the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. The Gold Seal of Approval recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Achievement of certification signifies that the services provided at CRMH have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes. Carilion’s Joint Commission certified Stroke Center includes an important program called “Stroke Alert.”

Similar to Carilion’s Heart Alert program, Stroke Alert coordinates the response and treatment of a stroke from the rescue squad to the hospital, and makes sure treatment occurs as quickly as possible. As part of Stroke Alert, Carilion continues to encourage the public to be vigilant for the signs of stroke, and call 911 immediately.

(Drawing from

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