Winthrop-University Hospital recently has been designated a Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health. Designated centers include a specialized unit dedicated to stroke care with a 24/7 on-call stroke team whose members undergo regular continuing medical education.
L-R: Kathleen Michel, NP, Cerebrovascular Program Coordinator, and Elzbieta Wirkowski, MD, Director of Cerebrovascular Disorders, discuss a case.
The effects of stroke are farreaching. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke afflicts 700,000 Americans annually, making it the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, 40,000 more women than men suffer a stroke, and African-Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke.
Stroke is the sudden loss of brain function caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel to the brain, or in it, characterized by symptoms that vary with the extent, location and severity of the damage to the brain. Time is critical when signs of a stroke emerge. With only a three-hour timeframe to administer intravenous drug therapy (tPA) in an effort to dissolve the clot and prevent debilitating disability, the clock ticks for stroke victims.
Treating more than 500 stroke patients annually, Winthrop's Stroke Center has a multidisciplinary team of specialists ready at a moment's notice.
Winthrop's highly sophisticated Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit includes 13 acute care beds and six step-down beds. With the advanced technology to monitor blood flow, oxygen, intracranial pressure and brain temperature on a real-time basis, the Center's specialized approach allows for quick and accurate decisions about a patient's neurological state to secure the best possible outcome.
"It is critical that the moment stroke symptoms occur, action is taken because time lost is brain lost," said Elzbieta Wirkowski, MD, Director of Cerebrovascular Disorders. "The first step is to call 911 and then get to a hospital designated a Stroke Center, such as Winthrop, that is fullyequipped to respond and provide rapid treatment to patients experiencing an acute stroke." Winthrop also is one of the first Long Island hospitals to begin using the Merci® Retriever for emergency cases in which the window of opportunity for drug therapy intervention has closed.
On the fast track to recovery, hospitalized patients are comforted by the support provided by Winthrop's Stroke Peer Visitors Program—the first such program sponsored by the American Stroke Association on Long Island.
"The Winthrop team is honored to receive Stroke Center designation," explained Garry J. Schwall, Vice President, Administration. "It is yet another step in our efforts to save not only stroke patients' lives, but their quality of life." Winthrop's Stroke Center's compassionate, quality continuum of care keeps it world-class. For more about the Center, call 1-866-WINTHROP.
Call 911 immediately if any of these symptoms occur:
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Severe headache with no known cause