(HARTFORD, Conn.) – The Stroke Center at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM – Stroke (GWTG-Stroke) Bronze Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Saint Francis’ 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 GWTG-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award addresses the important element of time,” said Phaniraj Iyengar, M.D., Medical Director of The Stroke Center at Saint Francis. Saint Francis 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 GWTG-Stroke Bronze Performance Achievement Award, Saint Francis consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the GWTG-Stroke program for 90 days. These include aggressive use of medications like tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs, and smoking cessation. The 90-day evaluation period is the first in an ongoing self-evaluation by the Hospital to continually reach the minimum 85 percent compliance level required to sustain this award.

“The American Stroke Association commends Saint Francis for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., National Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee Member and Director of Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, 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.”

GWTG-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 stroke. Through GWTG-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 GWTG Patient Management Tool provides access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

“Saint Francis is focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing GWTG-Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to an increasingly aging population,” said Christopher M. Dadlez, President and Chief Executive Officer.

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 aged 65 and older, the percentage is even higher.

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets and is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.