WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital earns national recognition for efforts to improve stroke and cardiac treatment

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently announced that WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital has been awarded multiple national honors for treatment of stroke, cardiac arrest resuscitation and treatment of STEMI, the deadliest kind of heart attack.

The hospital has received the AHA’s GoldPlus Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Quality Achievement Award for its commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines.

Additionally, the hospital received the AHA’s Target: Type 2 Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90% of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.” WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital also received the Target: StrokeSM Elite Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and speeding recovery times.

“The ways in which our stroke program continues to evolve is both exciting and motivating,” Lucas Burkhardt, Stroke Center coordinator, said. “I could not be more proud of the work and dedication of our nurses, physicians and associated staff members. Without them, there is no opportunity for success, let alone sustained success. These awards exemplify our commitment to stroke care and confirm our sustained improvement in our care processes.”

WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital also earned the AHA’s Silver Get With The Guidelines®-Resuscitation Quality Achievement Award for their commitment to treating in-hospital cardiac arrest, ultimately helping to improve patient survival rates.

More than 200,000 adults and children have an in-hospital cardiac arrest each year, according to the AHA. Survival from cardiac arrest is largely dependent on timely medical emergency team response and effective CPR.

“WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our dedication to helping our patients have the best possible chance of survival and after a stroke or cardiac arrest,” hospital President and CEO Douglass Harrison said. “The Get With The Guidelines-Stroke and Resuscitation programs make it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis.

“This further reiterates our position of being able to offer the highest level of service at a local level so patients don’t have to leave the area for care.”

Meanwhile, WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital has received the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus Receiving for implementing specific quality improvement measures to treat patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Each year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

The AHA’s Mission: Lifeline program helps reduce barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks – starting from when 9-1-1 is called, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. Optimal care for heart attack patients takes coordination between the individual hospital, EMS and healthcare system.

Program participants apply for the award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to improving quality care for STEMI patients.

“By using a regional team approach, we are able to provide guideline-directed care to the STEMI patient in a timely manner and restore blood flow as quickly as possible,” Tish Holden, hospital Chest Pain Center coordinator and Mission Lifeline regional team leader, said.

“We are pleased to recognize WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital for its commitment to cardiovascular care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and executive vice chair of neurology, director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the American Heart Association’s quality improvement programs often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”