UCSD Health makes honor roll for stroke care

SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego Health announced Thursday that it has been recognized by the American Heart Association for its timely, life-saving stroke care.

The association recently conducted data analysis showing the UCSD system exceeded national average treatment times. As a result, UCSD Health was bestowed with Gold Plus Achievement status and the Honor Roll Elite Plus award.

“In order to be recognized for these awards, you must have a team of highly trained emergency department staff, neurologists, radiologists and endovascular surgeons available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said Dr. Thomas Hemmen, director of stroke neurology at UCSD Health. “The coordination and collaboration of this team is what leads to our quick response time and better patient outcomes.”

A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is disrupted (ischemic stroke) or a blood vessel in the brain ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke). In both types of stroke, fast and correct diagnosis and treatment is essential to reduce long-term impairment and save lives, according to the health system.

The American Heart Association reported that 75 percent or more of acute ischemic stroke patients at UCSD Health were treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activators within one hour and thrombolytic therapy was delivered within 45 minutes in 50 percent of patients, according to the system.

More than 5,000 people each year visit hospitals in San Diego County after suffering an apparent stroke, and stroke was the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2016, UCSD health said.