The Joint Commission has certified MUSC as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, placing it in an elite group of about 100 hospitals nationwide. So what difference does the level make?
MUSC neurologist Christine Holmstedt, D.O., explains it this way. Primary Stroke Centers are hospitals that can do everything that an acute stroke-ready hospital can do, as well as admit and monitor acute stroke patients who have received the clot-busting medication tPA in a dedicated stroke unit. Then there’s the top comprehensive tier, the certification level MUSC recently received, that means a hospital can handle the most complex of stroke patients and provide the most advanced level of care achievable.
Complex stroke patients range widely, from “those patients who may require endovascular procedures, such as clot removal, those who require securing of an intracranial aneurysm or those that require neuro-critical intensive care, and emergent neuro-surgical evaluation and treatment,” Holmstedt said.
“To be comprehensive, you have to be able to provide those services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And, it’s not just offering the services. We have to monitor our outcomes and demonstrate true quality of care.”
What else it means:
MUSC’s door-to-needle time is 30 minutes or less, compared to the national standard of 60 minutes. The faster patients whose strokes can be treated with the clot-busting medication tPA get that treatment, the better their outcomes.
Telemedicine connects MUSC stroke experts with doctors in community hospitals, allowing the MUSC team to give life- and brain-saving advice. MUSC acts as the hub of stroke expertise and now has grown to serve 22 sites, ensuring that almost all state residents are within 60 minutes of having access to expert stroke and cerebrovascular care.
MUSC is known for its robust research program. Holmstedt says the combined stroke team group last year published 98 papers.
MUSC also leads in the testing of the latest in medical devices being manufactured to treat stroke. Many of the new devices and drugs to treat stroke that are being used all around the world came through MUSC early in the testing stages.
MUSC’s Stroke Recovery Research Center, one of a handful of such centers in the nation, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those who have had strokes. The center has 33 active grants that focus on stroke recovery.
Read how the dedicated doctors on MUSC’s Comprehensive Stroke Center team work together to help patients and ensure South Carolina has one of the top stroke centers in the country, on the MUSC News Center.