Healthcare: A Speedier Response for Stroke Patients

Through its Get Ahead of Stroke campaign, SNIS hopes to save lives and reduce disability by ensuring stroke patients are taken to the right hospital for treatment.

Healthcare • Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery

If you have a stroke, you know you’ll need a hospital. But what you really need is the right hospital.

“What we’ve found is that if you go to the closest hospital and you have a stroke, you’re going to sit there for about three hours before you ever get transferred to the hospital that could potentially help you,” says Marie Williams, CAE, executive director of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery. And minutes matter: Nearly 2 million brain cells die every minute a stroke goes untreated.

Through its Get Ahead of Stroke campaign, SNIS is working to change the systems that direct EMS to take patients to the closest hospital—instead getting them to a Level 1 stroke center, where they can access thrombectomy, a minimally invasive treatment that removes the clot that caused the stroke. Less than 15 percent of patients have access to thrombectomy, because patients often aren’t taken to a Level 1 stroke center.

SNIS created the campaign “to educate EMS, healthcare providers, and policymakers that appropriate care for a stroke can be the difference between life and death,” Williams says. “It also advocates at the state and federal levels for changes to stroke systems of care so that more people can access thrombectomy.”

SNIS hopes to save lives and reduce disability. Sixty-five percent of severe stroke patients who are taken directly to a Level 1 stroke center live without long-term disability. Only 42 percent of those taken to the nearest hospital do.

(gremlin/Getty Images)

Allison Torres Burtka

By Allison Torres Burtka

Allison Torres Burtka, a longtime association journalist, is a freelance writer and editor in West Bloomfield, Michigan. MORE

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