(HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 11, 2010) - Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Saint Francis' success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, the Stroke Center at Saint Francis achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals, and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

These include the prompt use of medications and measures aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation.

"The Get With The Guidelines - Stroke Gold Plus Performance Award is the highest award for quality stroke care presented by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. It demonstrates Saint Francis' performance as one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care," said Rolf Knoll, M.D., Saint Francis' Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer.

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.

"The steps that we have taken to win this prestigious award are based on scientific literature demonstrating the best outcomes for stroke patients. We will continue to follow this evidence-based approach to ensure continued progress in the fight against stroke," said Phaniraj Iyengar, M.D., Medical Director of the Stroke Center at Saint Francis.

The Stroke Center at Saint Francis is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by both the Connecticut Department of Public Health and The Joint Commission, the leading accreditation agency for healthcare organizations in the United States. The Center's program is comprised of highly trained healthcare professionals from various specialties including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Radiology, Cardiology, Vascular Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Physiatry and Rehabilitation Medicine from both Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital.

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