UCHealth Memorial given stroke designation

By Cary Vogrin, UCHealth

UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central has become the first hospital in southern Colorado to be named a Comprehensive Stroke Center, an elite designation given to programs that offer the highest and most advanced level of stroke care.

Just three other hospitals in Colorado – all in metro Denver – have the designation. In all, just over 200 medical centers nationwide share this distinction. Comprehensive Stroke Centers must offer 24/7 intensive medical and surgical care to treat the most serious and complex strokes – including advanced brain imaging and highly sophisticated endovascular catheter treatments in which tiny wires are guided through an artery and into the brain to break up and remove a clot.

“We are proud to serve southern Colorado with the most advanced care options available for patients who have had a stroke,’’ said Joel Yuhas, president and CEO of UCHealth Memorial. “As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, UCHealth Memorial again demonstrates its commitment to bringing advanced care, close to home. Prompt and cutting-edge treatment offers patients affected by stroke a better chance of returning to a normal life and helps minimize the debilitating effects that strokes can cause.’’

Strokes account for one in every 20 deaths in the United States, killing more than 130,000 people a year, according to the American Stroke Association. It’s also a leading cause of long-term disability, with deficits including the inability to recognize people, immobility, loss of vision and language impairment.

“As a stroke survivor, the availability of high-quality stroke care makes all the difference among the possible outcomes,” said Dave Csintyan, who was treated for a stroke at Memorial Hospital North and Memorial Hospital Central. “As the stroke occurred, I relinquished all control over my future and handed that over to the extraordinary professionals in the UCHealth system. That level of support allowed me to end where I began – with no deficiencies. To say that I am grateful does not do justice to the world-class support I received.”

Dr. Janice Miller, the medical director for Memorial’s stroke program, said she is proud of the distinction and of the dedication and teamwork of Memorial’s highly skilled and trained providers.

“In achieving this, Memorial Central has been recognized as meeting rigorous standards that will contribute to positive outcomes in stroke situations. It is truly exciting that we are able to offer our community here in Colorado Springs – and throughout southern Colorado – comprehensive stroke care close to home, close to their families and close to their primary health care providers.”

Memorial is the second UCHealth hospital to receive Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, joining University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora and underscoring UCHealth’s commitment to providing world-class stroke care. Since becoming part of UCHealth in 2012, Memorial’s neurosciences team has grown more than 530 percent and now includes a team of 57 providers and staff members including five neurosurgeons, neuro hospitalists, neuro interventionalists and neuro critical care specialists.

UCHealth also operates the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit – a specialized emergency department on wheels staffed with a specialized stroke team – that can administer rapid treatment in the field rather than waiting for a patient to arrive at a hospital. The MSTU is part of a national research study into the medical benefits of stroke treatments provided by the unit.

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