Having Comprehensive Stroke Center in your area matters

OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center was already Rockford’s top choice for stroke care, but now it is also Rockford’s only hospital to be certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. That means OSF Saint Anthony meets the most stringent certification guidelines that exist for stroke care. It means the best stroke care in the region is always available and ready at OSF Saint Anthony.

During a stroke, every second matters. About 2 million neurons in the brain die every minute during a stroke, and they don’t come back. The impact to your brain and your quality of life can be devastating. That’s why having a Comprehensive Stroke Center in your area matters.

What it is

Comprehensive Stroke Centers must be able to treat any type of stroke with every known treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They must be able to handle multiple complex stroke cases at any time of the day or night, with a highly specialized stroke care staff, an interdisciplinary approach and the most advanced imaging methods.

The new designation comes after OSF HealthCare invested a lot of money and years of effort to upgrade equipment, recruit world-class stroke care specialists and coordinate a multi-team stroke response that gets patients to the specialty care they need faster than ever before and helps patients throughout the recovery process.

“OSF Saint Anthony took the initiative of investing millions of dollars in new labs and equipment, bringing in the best available physicians, including interventional neurologists, and having the best teams trained to take care of these patients, fast and effectively,” said Harneet Bath, MD, vice president and chief medical officer for OSF Saint Anthony. “The greatest hospital in the area for adult care, just got even better.”

What sets a Comprehensive Stroke Center apart from other stroke care programs?

Requirements Primary Stroke Center Comprehensive Stroke Center
Dedicated intensive care beds for complex stroke patients 24/7? No Yes
Can treat multiple complex stroke patients 24/7? No Yes
Neuro-interventionist, neuroradiologist, neurologist and neurosurgeon available 24/7? No Yes
Program medical director with extensive expertise available 24/7? No Yes
Participate in approved patient-centered research? No Yes

What it means for you

OSF HealthCare committed $3 million to build a stroke surgical intervention procedure room, which opened in OSF Saint Anthony in summer 2017. The new equipment, combined with the addition of interventional neurologists, gave OSF Saint Anthony the ability to surgically retrieve stroke-causing blood clots any time of the day or night all year round. According to Dr. Bath, patients who receive one of these procedures, known as a thrombectomy, reduce their risk of developing a disability or needing nursing home care by 73 percent.

Recent studies show nearly 49 percent of patients treated with this type of procedure could live independently 90 days after the stroke. In contrast, the same is true of only 13 percent of patients treated with the standard methods available at hospitals with a Primary Stroke Center designation.

The stroke team at OSF Saint Anthony coordinated with the emergency department team and emergency transport services to streamline the process of treating stroke patients, so they get the specialized care they need as quickly as possible. Because “time equals brain,” as stroke care providers say, this is a vital difference that sets OSF Saint Anthony apart from the other providers in Rockford.

Last Updated: May 9, 2019

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About Author: Ken Harris

Ken Harris is the proudest father and was a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.

He has a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.

In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.

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Categories: Brain & Spine