The Joint Commission has certified the WVU Stroke Center as a comprehensive stroke center, making it the only comprehensive center in West Virginia. With this certification, the Center joins an elite group of healthcare organizations focused on highly-specialized stroke care.
To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients. The WVU Stroke Center was first designated as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission in 2006.
The Center provides an acute stroke team that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including:
- Emergency Medicine Staff, EMS and HealthNet Aeromedical Services
- Neurology and Neurosurgery
- Radiology and Neuro-Interventional Radiology
- Inpatient Clinical Labs
- Rehabilitation Services
- Care Management
The Stroke Team also has:
- Neurocritical Care and Stroke Units staffed by a multidisciplinary team of registered nurses and therapists who have received extensive stroke education;
- A performance improvement process that uses the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Registry;
- Advanced diagnostic and imaging techniques; and
- Prevention, early intervention, and rehabilitation services provided in the WVU Neurology Clinic for patients who are at risk for stroke or who have had a stroke.
The WVU Stroke Center is also a recipient of the American Heart Association Gold Plus Performance Award and Target Stroke Honor Roll.
Stroke Intervention: Every Second Counts
The Stroke Center has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate and treat a stroke in time to minimize damage.
Know the symptoms of stroke.
BE FAST at these common signs of a stroke: The amount time that elapses between a person having a stroke to the time they reach the hospital is crucial. Learning to recognize the warning signs can increase the chance of a better outcome for the patient. Using the B.E.F.A.S.T. test can help:
- Balance – Is the person experiencing a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
- Eyes – Is the person having a sudden change in vision or trouble seeing?
- Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared..
When a stroke occurs or is suspected, call 911.
The 911 operator will contact an emergency medical service to dispatch an ambulance. When the emergency response team examines the stroke victim, they will contact WVU Hospitals with vital patient information.
Available treatments include Thrombolytic Agents and Stents
- Thrombolytic Agents, also known as “clot busters”- a therapy used to dissolve blood clots and improve blood flow. (Intravenous rtPA)
- Carotid angioplasty/ Carotid endarterectomy (CEA)
- Endovascular Clot Retrieval
In 1996, the FDA approved the use of a new drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, for the treatment of stroke. The drug is used to dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow that cause many strokes. These drugs can also reduce the amount of damage strokes produce. The largest drawback to this type of intervention is time, these drugs must be given within three hours from the start of symptoms to be effective. NOTE: A select number of patients who meet additional, strict criteria may be eligible for tPA treatment up to four and a half hours from onset of symptoms.
Stroke Related Clinical Trials
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are health-related or bio-medical research studies that follow a pre-defined protocol and involve human beings. Stoke patients are being recruited below for three current studies. Click the links to learn more about each study.
Platelet-Oriented Inhibition in New TIA and minor ischemic stroke (POINT) Trial
The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and effectiveness of the combination of low-dose aspirin and a medication called clopidogrel (also known by the brand name Plavix®) in reducing the risk of stroke, heart attacks and other complications in patients who have just had a TIA or minor ischemic stroke. POINT is a randomized, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial to determine whether clopidogrel 75mg/day is effective in improving survival free from major ischemic vascular events (ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, and ischemic vascular death) at 90 days when initiated within 12 hours time last known free of new ischemic symptoms of TIA or minor ischemic stroke in subjects receiving aspirin 50-325mg/day. Learn more about Point.
Stroke Hyperglycemia Insulin Network Effort (SHINE) Trial
The Stroke Hyperglycemia Insulin Network Effort (SHINE) Trial is a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial of 1400 patients that will include approximately 60 enrolling sites. The study hypotheses are that treatment of hyperglycemic acute ischemic stroke patients with targeted glucose concentration (80mg/dL – 130 mg/dL) will be safe and result in improved 3 month outcome after stroke. Eligible subjects must be within 12 hours of stroke symptom onset and have diabetes and glucose concentrations of over 110 mg/dL on initial evaluation. The enrolling sites will include the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) sites as well as non NETT sites from all over the United States. The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of targeted glucose control (treatment group – IV insulin with target 80-130 mg/dl) verses control therapy of sub q insulin plus basal insulin with target glucose less than 180 mg/ dL. The primary outcome will be functional outcome at 3 months as measured by the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) Score. The primary safety outcome will be severe hypoglycemia defined as <40 mg/dL. Enrollment will occur over 3.5 – 4 years. Learn more about SHINE.
Study of Modified Stem Cells (SB623) in Patients With Chronic Motor Deficit From Ischemic Stroke (ACTIsSIMA) ACTIsSIMA is a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial of clinical trial of 156 patients that will include approximately 65 sites. The study is being conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of a cell suspension of SB623 cells (modified stem cells) administered by one time injection into the brain around the area of the stroke. Eligible subjects must have had an ischemic stroke that happened at least 6 months ago but not more than 90 months ago and chronic motor deficits. Learn more about ACTIsSIM.
Quantifying MicroRNA Levels in Ischemic Stroke
The purpose of this WVU study is to measure a small component in the blood called microRNA in patients diagnosed with stroke. MicroRNA are small non-coding sections of the genetic makeup of the body (the genome) that can regulate protein translation. Everyone has these microRNA in the body but previous research has found that some people with certain conditions have different levels compared to healthy individuals. There are 9 microRNA types we will to look at that are associated with how the body produces energy and how well the immune system works. Based on previous research findings, we believe that measuring these microRNA levels across the stroke injury period can provide insight into the progression of the stroke, may be associated with functional prognosis, and possibly identify a new way to treat stroke. We also will assess leukocyte subsets to understand the role of the immune system in post-stroke recovery.
Joint Commission Certification
The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.
Learn more about the WVU Stroke Center from its 2018 public report.
American Heart Association Award
The Stroke Center is a recipient of the American Heart Association Gold Plus Performance Award and Target Stroke Honor Roll, which recognizes healthcare organizations for excellence and offer the best possible outcomes for stroke patients.
The Woven Endobridge device (WEB) is a groundbreaking advance in the development of technology for the treatment of ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms. The WVU Stroke Center was among the first in the country to use this device in clinical trials, now available to the rest of the U.S. Ansaar Rai, MD, and SoHyun Boo, MD, explain how the WEB device is making the delicate treatment of aneurysms less risky.
Research drives patient care at any large academic medical center. As stroke treatment has dramatically evolved in the past decade, WVU Medicine’s neurointerventionists have emerged as national leaders in their relatively new field. Here, Ansaar Rai, MD, WVU Medicine Radiology vice chair of clinical operations, discusses the past and present of stroke treatment.