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The Joint Commission


AMMC Teams Up with Arkansas Hospitals to Fight Stroke

Shay Willis November 6, 2011

Forty-one hospitals serving Arkansans have joined a collaborative effort to reduce the devastating impact of stroke in the state. Arkansas Methodist Medical Center is one of the hospitals to join the effort.

In 2007, Arkansas ranked first in the nation for stroke mortality. Each year, more than 700,000 Americans suffer from a stroke; about 25% of them die at the time of the event or soon after, and 15%-30% of survivors remain permanently disabled.

According to Dr. Michael Johnson, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at AMMC, "The key to treatment is early identification of the symptoms and seeking treatment emergently. The medications used to decrease the effects of a stroke are only recommended if the patient presents to the emergency department within four hours of onset of symptoms. Waiting to seek care has a tremendous negative impact on the outcome and affects of the stroke."

The Arkansas Department of Health, in collaboration with the American Heart Association, is developing a stroke registry to help reduce the burden of this disease on Arkansans. The 2005 Arkansas General Assembly created the Acute Stroke Care Task Force (ASCTF) and in 2010 they received $180,000 in state funding to establish the Arkansas Stroke Registry. "This registry is a tool that will save lives and improve outcomes for survivors of stroke in Arkansas," said Dr. Namvar Zohoori, Chair of the ASCTF. "It will allow us to better understand what we can do to reduce the stroke death rate."

The Arkansas Stroke Registry is a database built on information from participating hospitals such as patient emergency transport, diagnosis and treatment data. The Registry uses the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines program to analyze and identify opportunities to assist hospitals in improving patient care while reducing stroke deaths and disability. In addition, data received from the Arkansas Stroke Registry will increase public awareness of stroke warning signs and symptoms as well as the importance of calling 9-1-1.