On March 12, the UCLA Stroke Center announced that it has been certified as a comprehensive stroke center by the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The center, part of UCLA Health and the UCLA Department of Neurology, is one of the first 10 stroke centers in the nation to receive the esteemed designation.
UCLA announces that the certification, which confirms that the UCLA Stroke Center has met the highest national standards for safety and quality of care, further enhances the center’s national reputation as an innovator in clinical care. “This is a true team effort, reflecting the efforts of over 200 physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and technologists at the UCLA Stroke Center and spanning all of UCLA Health.” noted Dr. Jeffrey Saver, the center’s director and a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He added, “It is a reflection of our team’s sustained, collective commitment to saving the lives of our stroke patients.”
The Joint Commission, an independent is a not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the nation. The commission conducted a rigorous on-site review at UCLA, collecting data and evaluating the center’s performance based on the commission’s requirements for the certification designation. It now certifies two levels of stroke care, “primary” and “comprehensive.” Comprehensive stroke centers offer the highest level of care, including neuro-intensive care units, complex neurosurgical interventions, and advanced brain and blood-vessel imaging.
Since the UCLA Stroke Center was established in 1994, it has offered stroke patients state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled specialists, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As part of a major academic institution, the center also has been a world leader in researching and implementing new ways to improve stroke survival and recovery. For example, nearly a decade ago, center researchers invented the MERCI Retriever — a mechanical device that removed stroke-causing clots from the brain. The center supplanted the MERCI device last February with the SOLITAIRE Flow Restoration Device, which dramatically outperformed the standard mechanical treatment. SOLITAIRE proved to be so superior that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ended its clinical trial nearly a year earlier than planned due to SOLITAIRE’s significantly better outcomes.
The UCLA Stroke Center was also an innovator with the establishment, in 2009, of its Telestroke Network Partner Program, which gives emergency departments at community hospitals across California the opportunity for direct, immediate, around-the-clock video consultations with UCLA stroke neurology experts. Within 15 minutes of being contacted, a neurologist can be interviewing and counseling a patient and family and performing a stroke-specific neurologic exam through a two-way video connection. The UCLA stroke specialist can view any local diagnostic images online as well.
The commission’s certification shows that UCLA has achieved the highest standard of stroke care by ensuring that patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. “The dual mission of the UCLA Stroke Center is to provide the best possible care for every patient with cerebrovascular disease and to innovate new methods to diagnose, treat and cure stroke,” said Dr. Neil Martin, chair of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery and a member of the UCLA Stroke Center’s steering committee. “We look forward to serving the Los Angeles community as a certified comprehensive stroke center.”
The UCLA Stroke Center, recognized as one of the world’s leading centers for the management of cerebral vascular disease, treats simple and complex vascular disorders by incorporating recent developments in emergency medicine, stroke neurology, microneurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, stereotactic radiology, neurointensive care, neuroanesthesiology and rehabilitation neurology. The program is unique in its ability to integrate clinical and research activities across multiple disciplines and departments.