Tulane Health System’s Stroke Program has achieved the highest possible quality award from the American Heart Association (AHA), the Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus award. Tulane is the first hospital in Louisiana to achieve this distinguished quality award.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association launched Target: Stroke Phase II in January 2015. The goal is to recognize hospitals that continue improving acute ischemic stroke care by reducing door-to-needle times for eligible patients being treated with the clot busting drug tPA.

Tulane achieved Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus status for consistently meeting the following stroke quality measures:

  • Achieving Door-to-Needle times within 60 minutes in 75 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients treated with IV tPA.
  • Achieving Door-to-Needle times within 45 minutes in 50 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients treated with IV tPA.

“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates Tulane Medical Center’s commitment to providing aggressive, proven stroke care,” said Sheryl Martin-Schild, M.D., PhD, Vascular Neurologist and Medical Director of the Tulane Stroke Program. “In fact, Tulane’s Stroke Program provides the highest sustained treatment rate with the clot busting medication for ischemic stroke (non-bleeding kind) in the state of Louisiana, and we are able to administer this treatment quickly due to effective and efficient teamwork.”

To achieve Target: Stroke Honor Roll-Elite Plus recognition by the AHA, facilities must prove that they can have an expert available to see the patient within 10 minutes, result bloodwork, interpret EKGs, and interpret brain imaging all within 45 minutes with a goal of administering IV tPA in less than 60 minutes (if applicable).  Tulane has policies and protocols in place to achieve these goals, as well as extensive education with hospital staff and EMS providers regarding identification and treatment of strokes.

“I think what sets us apart is the dedication to each individual patient that presents as an acute stroke” says Melissa Freeman, Stroke Program Coordinator.  “As soon as the potential patient is identified, the stroke team (which includes a stroke neurologist) is at the bedside evaluating the patient along with the ED MD, multiple RNs, and medics.  The CT and the lab are waiting on the patient.  The neurologist goes with the patient to the CT and interprets the CT immediately, while simultaneously delegating to other team members to prep for tPA administration or advanced imaging if required.  If the patient needs neurosurgical intervention or endovascular intervention, the proceduralist is there immediately.  We’re very aggressive with treatment which is proven to reduce disability with stroke and this is imperative to the residents of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast”.