Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center achieves national recognition for stroke program

July 13, 2011

Aurora St. Luke's is only Wisconsin hospital to earn recognition

Milwaukee - Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center recently joined the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association's Stroke Honor Roll, making it the first hospital in the state to achieve this recognition.

To achieve this recognition, over the past quarter at least 50 percent of eligible ischemic stroke patients received critical clot busting medication within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital (known as "door-to-needle" time).

Aurora St. Luke's also earned the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award. The award recognizes Aurora St. Luke's excellent care for stroke patients and implementation of evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, Aurora St. Luke's achieved 85 percent or higher on all guidelines for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals, as well as a compliance of 75 percent or higher with six out of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality measures.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates Aurora St. Luke's commitment to providing aggressive, proven stroke care," says Jeff Smith, MD, vice president of medical affairs for Aurora St. Luke's.

Varun Saxena, MD, neurologist and co-director of the stroke program at Aurora St. Luke's, says, "The time is right for us to focus on enhancing stroke care. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and increased awareness by a large aging population."

Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the "teachable moment" - the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their health care professionals' guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second stroke.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

About Aurora Health Care
Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit

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