Friday, June 5, 2015

Leading the charge in stroke care


“You are the poster child for excellence in quality improvement. You are leading the charge at the hospital, city, state and nation,” said Elizabeth Mort, MD, senior vice president for MGH Quality and Safety, at the third annual MGH Acute Stroke Breakfast Gala at the MGH Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation.

During the May 15 event – held in connection with the American Stroke Awareness Month – the MGH Acute Stroke Quality Taskforce celebrated another successful year of treating acute stroke patients and the exemplary work of its staff.

“It’s all about timing,” said Natalia Rost, MD, director of the MGH Acute Stroke Service and the Acute Stroke Quality Taskforce. Delivering lifesaving treatment to an acute stroke patient as quickly as possible is absolutely critical and two key messages – “time is brain” and “every second counts” – are emphasized by the task force on a daily basis. In order to continue to achieve the best patient outcomes, Rost said it is of utmost importance to administer intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within three- to four-and-a-half hours of stroke. The MGH aspires to reduce this “door-to-needle” time goal and, as a result, has achieved what is known as the “golden hour” standard of providing the patient with tPA within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital.

In 2014, the MGH not only attained this golden hour standard, but exceeded it, with a 15-minute door-to-needle time for one acute stroke patient. The 12-member team that provided this exceptional care was honored at the gala. “We can’t control every patient outcome, but we can control the excellence of care of every patient and celebrate the team that delivered the fastest treatment at the MGH in 2014,” said Rost.

Success would not be possible without collaboration and coordination between numerous MGH departments, said Rost. “We take caring for acute stroke patients very seriously at the MGH and it’s not an easy feat. It requires precision and coordinated care from a multidisciplinary team who work as a well-oiled machine 24/7, 365 days a year.”

The efforts of another 13-member team that saved Anand Murthy’s life also were recognized at the event. In 2014, Murthy suffered from an acute stroke as result of basilar artery thrombosis and was transferred to the MGH, where the tPA door-to-needle time was 30 minutes. tPA was followed by inter-arterial therapy, which is a mechanical procedure used to further open the artery by removing larger clots. Two members of Murthy’s clinical team – Scott Silverman, MD, of the Department of Neurology, and James Rabinov, MD, of the Department of Radiology – spoke about Murthy’s success story. “It was great to restore blood flow and save Mr. Murthy’s life,” said Rabinov.

Murthy and his family were in attendance at the event and he expressed his gratitude for the MGH care team. “I received great care here at the MGH. I would like to say thanks to everyone involved.”

Rost said stories like Murthy’s fuel the success of the MGH Acute Stroke Quality Taskforce and serve as reminders of how vital the work of their members truly is. “We are going to remember your story,” Rost told Murthy. “It will stay with us forever."

Read more articles from the 06/05/15 Hotline issue.


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