Primary Stroke Center is on Top of Their Game

May 29th, 2013

Did you know: 82 percent of ischemic stroke patients get treated within an hour at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale?

Yes, you read that right!

The Stroke Team at Memorial Hospital’s certified Primary Stroke Center is on top of their game.

They work at a furious pace together as a team from various departments to get a patient’s history, vital signs, lab results, CT scans of head and stroke diagnosis – all within 45 minutes of admission, so treatment can be started within the hour.

“More often than not, we have the patient receiving treatment in 40 minutes flat,” said Lesley Cranick, stroke program coordinator at Southern Illinois Healthcare. “Now that is 20 minutes below the national 60 minute goal!”

We are on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll

Memorial Hospital’s stroke program was recently given national recognition when it was placed on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll by the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association; the criteria being to provide at least 50 percent of the hospital's eligible ischemic stroke patients with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as 'door-to-needle' time).

However in Memorial Hospital’s case, the number was much, much higher: 82 percent of ischemic stroke patients got treated within an hour! The average treatment time was about 40 minutes; with an all-time record of 30 minutes flat!

How about that!

Why the Urgency?

The only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke, tPA, a thrombolytic, or clot-busting agent, can only be given within the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms. The drug significantly reverses the effects of stroke and reduces permanent disability.

At Primary Stroke Centers across the country, only about 8 percent of patients actually get treated with tPA (clot-busting medication). That same rate is about 20 percent at Memorial Hospital.

To date, only three hospitals in Illinois have Target: Stroke Honor Roll status. Two of the three are in the SIH family: with Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and Herrin Hospital receiving honors.

“We have a specific time window to give clot busting medication to a stroke patient,” said Joseph Haake, M.D., Director of ER at Memorial Hospital. “I am proud of our team, which includes lab/phlebotomy, CT techs, radiologists, ER doctors, nurses, neurologists and the stroke coordinator. We follow a failsafe, standardized process to provide the best outcome for the patient.”

Second Stroke Award

In addition to this, the hospital recently received the prestigious American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.

To receive the Stroke Gold Plus award Memorial Hospital achieved the following:

  • 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals
  • 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, aimed at reducing death and disability and improving
    the lives of stroke patients. Quality measures included aggressive use of medications, such as antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation.

Stroke Program Less than Three Years Old

Both the award and honor roll publicly recognize Memorial Hospital’s deep commitment and success in providing outstanding quality, evidence-based stroke care on a consistent basis.

“Memorial has racked up some serious national honors in a program that is less than 3 years old,” said Bhargava Trivedi, M.D., medical director for the Stroke Program at Memorial Hospital. “Patients have an improved chance of full recovery as we have the tools and resources in place that dramatically reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with clot-busting drugs. We have a gold-standard practice here in Southern Illinois and that makes me happy!”

For more information on Southern Illinois’ first and only certified Primary Stroke Center, covering a 60-mile radius, visit

During a Stroke Every Minute Counts So Act F.A.S.T.

*Source: American Stroke Association