HOUSTON (September 29, 2010)

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center is participating in the American Stroke Association's Get With The GuidelinesSM Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) program. The goal of the program is to improve the overall quality of care for stroke patients by improving acute stroke treatment and preventing future strokes and cardiovascular events.

GWTG-Stroke was developed to help hospitals employ proven science-based treatment guidelines, including those developed by the American Stroke Association, American Heart Association and Brain Attack Coalition. These guidelines address acute stroke management, primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, secondary prevention of strokes and the establishment of primary stroke centers.

As a GWTG-Stroke participating hospital, Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center is encouraged to develop a comprehensive system for providing rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke when patients are admitted to the emergency center. This includes always being equipped to provide brain-imaging scans, making neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center also is increasing its efforts to prevent secondary strokes through the aggressive use of medications such as statins and anti-platelets as indicated in the secondary stroke prevention guidelines. Other methods include the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis and management of smoking cessation, weight, exercise, diabetes and cholesterol.

Through GWTG-Stroke, the American Stroke Association provides Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center training and staffing recommendations, care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders, data-collection and measurement tools. The program also facilitates creating and sharing best practices among participating hospitals.

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 attacks. Of stroke survivors, 21 percent of men and 24 percent of women die within a year, and for those age 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.