November 14, 2013

Charleston Area Medical Center has earned the American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Gold Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes CAMC's commitment to implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally-accepted standards.

"The quick and efficient use of these guidelines can improve the quality of care for stroke patients, reduce disability and save lives," said Deb Rectenwald, CNRN, CAMC's stroke program coordinator. "CAMC is dedicated to making care for stroke patients among the best in the country, and this program helps us accomplish that goal."

Following Get With The Guidelines – Stroke treatment guidelines, patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies including the use of medications such as tPA, antithrombotics and anticoagulation therapy, along with cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation counseling. These are all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients. Hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to be eligible for achievement awards.

"Recent studies show that patients treated in hospitals participating in the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program receive a higher quality of care and may experience better outcomes," said Lee H. Schwamm, MD, 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, Mass.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this achievement addresses improved processes at CAMC to decrease the critical 'time element,'" Rectenwald said. "CAMC has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department, which includes being equipped 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate."

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

For more information about the Stroke Center at CAMC General Hospital, visit

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