VCU Medical Center Stroke Program Wins Awards
The work done at the VCU Medical Center’s Stroke Program has been recognized by The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
VCU received both Gold and Gold Plus Performance Achievement awards.
Felton: The American Heart Association American Stroke Association recognizes a certain level of care for stroke patients throughout the United States.
Dr. Warren Felton is Medical Director of the VCU Stroke Program. The Awards examine patient care.
Felton: Including the way we treat them in the acute phase of their stroke in reducing complications, and in prevention of recurring stroke. We measure these aspects of care, and the award was given for 24 consecutive months of reaching certain milestones with respect to the care that we give these stroke patients.
A number of criteria are evaluated during the two-year period.
Felton: It's primarily based on specific treatments using blood-thinning medications in the acute phase, initiating certain treatments to reduce complications and prevention. We also certainly track outcome, but the award itself is based on the way in which the care is actually delivered.
Outcomes for stroke patients at the VCU Medical Center are generally very good and are tracked and compared nationally.
Felton: Stroke is a serious condition and is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and in fact, throughout the world, and so there are men and women who certainly succumb to stroke, but there are many stroke survivors as well, and we've seen a number of advancements in the past ten to fifteen years that is improving the odds for those patients.
In some types of stroke cases, the positive outcomes at VCU are well ahead of the national average. It is a mistake, Dr. Felton said, to think of stroke as something experienced only by people in their 60s or 70s.
Felton: Our average population for stroke at VCU is in their 50s, and we see some patients in their 40s as well, so patients at a wide range of ages are susceptible to the risk of stroke. Symptoms that a person should be aware of include a change in the strength of one side of the face or arm or leg, or a change in speech, and we associate that with a rapid call to 911 to get medical attention.
Dr. Felton, a professor of neurology and ophthalmology, noted that VCU Medical Center’s stroke programs are among the most advanced in the country.
Felton: One of our primary missions at the Medical Center is the education of health-care professionals of tomorrow, including medical students and resident physicians as well, who will go on to treat patients with stroke and other diseases in the future. In addition to the standard of care using clot-busting medications such as TPA, we are advancing the care by providing extended treatment beyond the typical window of time that stroke patients may be treated in a standard method, and we're also investigating newer treatments that are on the cutting edge of stroke therapy.
Research into strokes and treatments is ongoing.
Felton: We are part of a national consortium looking at a particular treatment that can be given as an adjunct to the clot-busting medicine IV-TPA. This is human albumen that may serve as a neural protectant to potentially protect nerve cells that might be damaged with stroke. This is in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health.
The Awards put the comprehensive stroke care program among the elite of some 600 centers nationwide.
John Ogle, WCVE News