HOUSTON (October 11, 2010)

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time," said Alan Rubin, MD, chief of neurology at Memorial Hermann Memorial City.

Memorial Hermann Memorial City has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. 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 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award, the hospital consistently complied for at least one year with the requirements in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. This twelve-month evaluation period is the second in an ongoing self-evaluation by the hospital to continually reach the 85 percent compliance level needed to sustain this award.

"The American Stroke Association commends Memorial Hermann Memorial Cit Medical Centery for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and 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."

Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the "teachable moment," the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals' guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke. Through Get With The Guidelines-Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

"The time is right for us to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines-Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade because of an increase in stroke treatment options and the ever increasing age of our population," added Dr. Rubin.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center Stroke Committee pictured left to right: Charles Mitchell, RT; Elizabeth Paschall, RN; Gerry Chionglo, RN; Sandy Danon, RN; Elizabeth Jones, RN; Alan Rubin, MD; Peggy Smith, GWTG; James Lee, RN; Paige Percoski, RN; Edith Woltman, RN; Ellie Onda, RN; and Charlie Milton, RPT.