Primary Stroke Center
Mary Washington Hospital has once again been recertified as a designated
Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.
This means that since 2009, stroke patients will receive the highest level
of quality treatment and services at Mary Washington Hospital according
to national standards.
We are dedicated to ongoing quality improvement for stroke care from our
education and prevention programs through hospitalization and rehabilitation.
You will be evaluated, treated and recover under the care of an interdisciplinary
team of healthcare professionals trained to assure that each stroke patient
receives the highest level of care.
A Primary Stroke Center earns accreditation through intensive evaluations.
Staff at a Primary Stroke Center continuously improve their efficiency
and effectiveness in treating strokes from the initial emergency treatment
through to recovery and rehabilitation.
The Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers is awarded by
the Joint Commission, an independent non-profit organization that accredits
and certifies healthcare organizations and programs, to recognize centers
that follow the best practices for stroke care. Programs applying for
advanced certification must meet the requirements for Disease-Specific
Care Certification plus additional, clinically specific requirements and
expectations. Certified primary stroke centers:
- Use a standardized method of delivering care based on the Brain Attack
Coalition’s “Recommendations for Establishment of Primary
- Support patient self-management activities
- Tailor treatment and intervention to individual needs
- Promote the flow of patient information across settings and providers,
while protecting patient rights, security and privacy
- Analyze and use standardized performance measure data to continually improve
- Demonstrate their application of and compliance with clinical practice
guidelines published by the AHA/ASA or equivalent evidence-based guidelines
Source: Joint Commission
Mary Washington Hospital's Certified Stroke Center Earns Get With The
Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award
Mary Washington Hospital's Certified Stroke Center has earned the prestigious
Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement
Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
for complying with stringent quality measures over two years or more.
These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics,
anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and
Coming on the heels of Joint Commission accreditation as a Certified Stroke
Center and a Silver Award from the AHA/ASA in 2010, winning the Gold further
demonstrates Mary Washington's commitment to being one of the top
hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care.
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.
Mary Washington Hospital appears in the 2012 "Best Hospitals" issue of
U.S. News and World Report, recognized as an award-winning hospital.
Stroke Support Group
Mary Washington Healthcare’s Stroke Support Group has provided ongoing
resource support for stroke survivors and their families or caregivers
for over ten years. The Stroke Support Group meets on the first Monday
of every month at:
300 Park Hill Drive
In addition to treating stroke patients within the hospital, the Stroke
team is dedicated to providing the communities we serve with valuable
information on stroke education and prevention, including
recognizing a stroke.
If you have a group or organization that’s interested in learning
more about stroke, call our Stroke Coordinator, Eleanor Redmond at 540.741.4815.
Listen to Stroke Coordinator, Eleanor Redmond discuss several topics to
prevent Stroke and help with early detection on the MWHC Radio Show.
Stroke Center Certification
To learn more about stroke, visit:
article on MWH's Stroke Program by the US Health and Human Service's Agency
for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Stroke Survior - Andrea McCauley
It wasn’t something that Andrea McCauley thought could happen to
her. “I thought I did not have time to have a stroke. I was too
busy to have a stroke. I have a full time job, I’m raising three
children, I’m just too busy to have a stroke. A stroke happens to
people who aren’t busy, people who are ill, people who are older.
People who aren’t me.”
Yet, on January 13th, Andrea had a massive stroke. She was swiftly transported
toMaryWashingtonHospital by ambulance. Andrea, a Stafford county prosecutor,
had spent that morning at court and was about to go to an appointment
when she collapsed. Her coworkers gathered around and immediately knew
something was wrong. Andrea remembers a coworker, acting quickly saying,
“We’re not going to ask her any more questions, we need an
ambulance. Get an ambulance!”
Andrea was rushed by a StaffordCounty ambulance squad to the hospital.
where many of her family and friends had gathered. She recalls, “As
it was happening to me I can honestly say I had no idea what was going
on. I never connected what was happening to me with the fact that I was
having a stroke.”
Dr. Maha Alattar, a Mary Washington Healthcare neurologist, was ready and
waiting for her when the ambulance arrived. Recognizing stroke symptoms,
Dr. Alattar sent Andrea straight away to have a CAT scan. When the results
came back, Andrea was administered tissue plasminogen activator (TPA),
a drug that breaks up blood clots, a common cause of strokes.
Within thirty minutes, thanks to the rapid reactions of everyone involved
and the Mary Washington Hospital Stroke Team, Andrea went from not being
able to move at all on her right side or to speak, to being able to move
her hands, feet, and legs. She bears no side effects from the stroke.
Despite always living a healthy, active lifestyle, as a runner Andrea
was and still is conscientious about what she eats, it was found that
a congenital heart problem had triggered the stroke. In spite of her lifestyle,
she experienced a stroke and, as is proved by her story, with strokes,
immediate care is essential to improved recovery.
Andrea, has a special message for the Stroke Team and everyone at MaryWashingtonHospital,
“If it weren’t for you I would not be here. I would not be
standing; I would not be speaking, if it were not for you. Thank you from
the bottom of my heart.”
What is a stroke?
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in adults and the fourth leading
cause of death. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable by managing
risk factors. When a stroke occurs, quick recognition and treatment can
give you or a loved one the best chance of a full recovery.
Also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), stroke occurs when a blood
clot blocks an artery that supplies blood flow to the brain or when a
blood vessel breaks interrupting the flow of blood to an area of the brain.
Strokes are classified as ischemic, the most common, or hemorrhagic.
About 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes. They are caused by blockage
of an artery that impairs blood flow to part of the brain causing cells
and tissues to die from lack of oxygen. The blockage can come from a blood
clot in the blood vessels inside the brain (thrombotic stroke) or from
a blood clot or plaque debris that develops elsewhere in the body and
travels to one of the blood vessels in the brain (embolic stroke).
About 13 percent of strokes are caused when a blood vessel that supplies
the brain ruptures and bleeds. This hemorrhagic stroke builds up pressure
in surrounding tissues causing irritation and swelling.
When the bleeding is from blood vessels within the brain it is called an
intracerebral hemorrhage. This is usually caused by high blood pressure
and the bleeding occurs suddenly and often results in coma or death. When
the bleeding is in the space between the brain and the membranes that
cover the brain it is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This type of hemorrhage
often results from bleeding due to an aneurysm or an arteriovenous malformation
(AVM) (a disorder present at birth).
Stroke Symptoms and What to Do
You can save a loved one from death or disability by learning to recognize
the symptoms of stroke. Act “FAST” and call 9-1-1 immediately
at any sign of a stroke.
The National Stroke Association recommends “FAST” to help you
remember the warning signs:
Face—ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms—ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech—ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred
Time—if you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately!
Note the time that symptoms first appear. If given within three hours of
the first symptoms, an FDA-approved clot-busting drug may reduce long-term
disability for the most common form of stroke.
Common symptoms of stroke in men and women
- SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg—especially on one
side of the body
- SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause
If you experience any of these symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately. Note the
time, it may be important in determining treatment.
A stroke requires emergency medical treatment! The specific treatment for
stroke depends on the type of stroke and the duration of your symptoms.
Your age, overall medical status and tolerance for various treatments
is also considered. Your caregiver will rapidly assess you and begin appropriate
treatment. A combination of medications and surgical treatments may be
used. The goals of treatment include:
- Eliminate clotting
- Reduce or eliminate swelling in the brain
- Protect the brain from damage and lack of oxygen
Medications that may be used include:
Thrombolytics—Thrombolytic (fibrinolytic) drugs dissolve clots to restore blood
flow to the brain. For greatest effectiveness, this treatment must be
given as quickly as possible.
tPA—tPA is an enzyme that occurs naturally in the body. It converts
or activates plasminogen into another enzyme to dissolve a blood clot.
Your doctor might put it in an IV to speed up dissolving the clot. This
treatment is typically only used within three hours of a stroke’s onset.
MERCI Retrieval System—This treatment is FDA approved for patients who are not eligible
for IV-tPA or fail to respond to it. The system can be used for patients
who present after the three-hour time window for IV-tPA. The innovative
Merci Retriever, a tiny corkscrew device that wraps around the clot to
trap it so it can be retrieved from the body, is proven to restore blood
flow in the larger vessels of the brain by removing blood clots.
Penumbra System—This is another treatment option for patients up to eight hours
after the onset of symptoms. The Penumbra Systems allows for safe revascularization
of occluded (blocked) vessels after an ischemic stroke. It helps restore
brain blood flow by using suction to “grab” blood clots in
In some cases, surgical treatment may be used to remove plaque and clots
from the arteries to prevent stroke. A stent may also be placed in the
carotid artery (in the neck). A craniotomy (brain surgery) may be performed
to remove clots and repair bleeding in the brain. Other surgeries include
repair of aneurysms and artery defects that could impact blood flow to
Many people believe that stroke only occurs in the elderly and cannot be
prevented. Both are myths! Stroke can occur at any age, and there are
risk factors that you can control such as:
Control your blood pressure—Levels higher than 120/80 can put you at risk.
Maintain healthy cholesterol levels—An LDL of 100 or less is optimal and a total cholesterol of less
than 200 is desirable.
Cease tobacco use—If you smoke, stop. Smoking nearly doubles your risk for stroke.
Maintain a health weight/diet—Choose a low salt, low fat diet with a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole
grains, and proteins (lean meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and low-fat milk).
Exercise—Aim for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. Always check
with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Manage your diabetes—Manage diabetes closely to avoid complications that could result
in a stroke.
Limit alcohol consumption—Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure so no
more than two drinks per day!
Get treatment for atrial fibrillation—Tell your doctor if you experience heart palpitations. An irregular
heart beat, called atrial fibrillation, can lead to blood clot formation
and increase your risk for stroke by nearly 500%!
Get treatment for TIA (Transient Ischemic Attacks)—TIA symptoms, “mini strokes” are just like a stroke but may
come and go. Having a TIA can be a sign that something is wrong. Call
your doctor immediately!
Source: National Stroke Association
Link to additional materials from the
National Stroke Assocation.
Did you know?
- Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability
- About 795,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, yet most Americans
cannot identify stroke symptoms or risk factors. Many strokes can be prevented
through risk factor management.
- Someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, on average.
- Women are twice as likely to die from stroke than breast cancer annually.
- There are many manageable risk factors for stroke, including: high blood
pressure, weight control, alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, atrial
fibrillation and transient ischemic attack (TIA).
- It’s important to understand stroke symptoms and response. Time is
a very urgent factor when it comes to stroke. Emergency treatment is available
if a stroke is recognized fast and 9-1-1 is called. The faster a person
having a stroke is taken to the hospital, the better chance of them receiving
emergency treatment that can reduce or even reverse the symptoms of stroke.
- Stroke will cost the United States an estimated $73.7 billion in 2010.
- Stroke incidence rate in African Americans is almost double that of Caucasians.
Link to additional materials from the
National Stroke Association.