Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla has been redesignated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission as part of the new Disease-Specific Care Advanced Certification Program for Comprehensive Stroke Centers, in collaboration with the American Heart Association.
The criteria for certification includes participation in research, access to advanced imaging, and performing a specified number of procedures, as well as treating a specific number of conditions at the center annually. The goal of this new higher level of certification is to recognize the significant differences in resources, staff and training that are necessary for the treatment of complex stroke patients.
“I am very proud of our staff and physicians for providing this outstanding level of care whenever a stroke occurs,” said Gary Fybel, chief executive of Scripps La Jolla. “It is a testament to the high caliber of expertise within our staff and the excellent care we provide.”
Stroke care at Scripps
As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Scripps La Jolla is able to provide access to minimally invasive stroke care not available at many other hospitals, including the following interventions:
• A procedure called a thrombectomy, which can remove a clot from the brain up to eight hours after onset of an ischemic stroke.
• Procedures that reopen or widen a blocked or narrowed artery, including carotid angioplasty and stenting.
• Embolization procedures that seal a ruptured blood vessel or prevent abnormal blood flow in patients who have suffered a hemorrhagic stroke or aneurysm rupture.
“The incredible team work we have here at Scripps is the reason we were able to achieve this recertification,” said Mary Kalafut, MD, neurologist and medical co-director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Scripps La Jolla. “The dedication of our stroke team makes it possible for us to achieve and maintain such a prestigious designation and to continue providing innovative care for our patients.”
Patients are cared for by health care professionals with extensive stroke training, including neurologists; neurosurgeons, neurointerventional and vascular surgeons; advanced practice nurses; and neuro-rehabilitation specialists such as physical, occupational and speech therapists.
“Recertification of our comprehensive stroke center status is certainly satisfying, but our commitment as a cutting-edge stroke management team does not end there,” said Frank Coufal, MD, neurosurgeon and medical co-director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Scripps La Jolla.
“In particular, we are passionate about integrating novel technologies into the total package of stroke care. New research efforts directed by the comprehensive stroke center will focus on the application of minimally invasive surgical techniques for treating hemorrhagic stroke as well as the refinement of neurointerventional protocols for ischemic stroke."
Additionally, all Scripps hospitals with emergency rooms are designated as Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission. The designation confirms that the hospital always has available a team of physicians who provide the most up-to-date and efficient stroke care, along with the tools and expertise to treat acute stroke quickly and competently to minimize or even reverse brain injury.
Advanced technology for stroke treatment
Scripps has been a pioneer in the development and use of several new devices related to stroke care. Giuseppe Ammirati, MD, interventional neuroradiologist at Scripps La Jolla, is one of the only physicians in San Diego currently using the pipeline embolization device for the treatment of previously untreatable aneurysms.
Scripps also was among a selected few centers in the country to use the TREVO stent retriever as part of a clinical study, due to the volume of patients treated and better-than-average outcomes.
The Joint Commission
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Together The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association anticipate that, over time, municipalities and regions will develop a formal referral network so the most complicated stroke cases can be treated at the centers best equipped to provide the specialized care that can lead to the best possible outcomes for stroke patients. It is anticipated that there may be more than 200 certified comprehensive stroke centers in the United States over the next few years.