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Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Program To Improve Stroke Care

Concord Hospital is participating in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke program. The goal of the program is to improve the overall quality of care for stroke patients by improving acute stroke treatment and preventing future strokes and cardiovascular events.

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke was developed to help hospitals employ proven science-based treatment guidelines, including those developed by the American Stroke Association, American Heart Association and Brain Attack Coalition. These guidelines address acute stroke management, primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, secondary prevention of strokes and the establishment of primary stroke centers.

As a Get With The Guidelines–Stroke participating hospital, Concord Hospital is encouraged to develop a comprehensive system for providing rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke when patients are admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain-imaging scans, making neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

In 2012, Concord Hospital established a high-tech partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital that speeds diagnosis and treatment during a patient’s crucial first moments in Concord Hospital’s Emergency Department. With the TeleStroke video conference system, doctors at Concord Hospital now consult with neurology specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital, who are brought to the patient’s bedside by video connection. Together the doctors view and interpret the patient’s lab test results and CT scans, examine the patient, consult with family members and recommend treatment.

Concord Hospital treats about 200 stroke patients a year, most suffering from blood clots that cut oxygen flow to the brain, which can cause permanent damage. For those patients, the key to survival and a reduced chance of long-term disability is prompt assessment and diagnosis -- and treatment with a clot-busting drug known as tPA within three hours of the initial stroke symptoms.

Concord Hospital is also increasing its efforts to prevent secondary strokes through the aggressive use of medications such as statins and anti-platelets as indicated in the secondary stroke prevention guidelines. Other methods include the treatment of atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis and management of smoking cessation, weight, exercise, diabetes and cholesterol.

Through Get With The Guidelines–Stroke, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association provides Concord Hospital training and staffing recommendations, care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders, data-collection and measurement tools. The program also facilitates creating and sharing best practices among participating hospitals.

“Concord Hospital is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in 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.”

“The time is right for Concord Hospital to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines–Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and a large aging population,” said Kristine Chaisson, director of cardiovascular services at Concord Hospital.

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.

About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.

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Concord Hospital
250 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 227-7000, ext. 4215