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Significant Improvements in Stroke Care, Outcomes

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Since Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) became an Advanced Primary Stroke Center in late 2014, the hospital has seen a significant increase in both the number of stroke cases treated as well as clinical outcomes for these patients.

Relative to patient volume, in 2015 AVH treated 750 stroke cases, up from 550 the year before. So far this year the hospital has cared for more than 400 stroke patients whose causes represent all three types of strokes -- ischemic, hemorrhagic and transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Along with this increased volume, the mortality rate for ischemic stroke cases (the most common type of stroke) has improved more than 50 percent at AVH, from 6.8 percent in 2015 to its current 4 percent level. These numbers represent a significant upgrade over the 2013-2014 statistics collected by California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), which are expected to be released next week. During the time period OSHPD analyzed, which preceded AVH’s attaining Advanced Primary Stroke certification, the hospital’s risk adjusted mortality rate for ischemic stroke was 15.8 percent representing the non-risk adjusted mortality rate of 12.8 percent for the 438 cases AVH treated over that two-year period.

"To ensure that Antelope Valley Hospital is ready to quickly care for stroke patients at any time of the day or night, we implemented a dedicated team of professionals who are specially trained to recognize the symptoms of stroke, identify what type of stroke a person is experiencing and determine the best course of treatment," said Ron Bingham,

AVH’s chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. "As a result, more patients are able to get the high level of care they need and more quickly resume their regular activities."

When it comes to stroke, prompt treatment is essential. The only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an intravenous medication that must be administered as quickly as possible after the onset of stroke symptoms. While the American Stroke Association recommends hospitals administer tPA within 60 minutes of a patient’s arrival at the hospital, AVH consistently meets or exceeds these national goals, which significantly improves patient outcomes.

"Over the past two years our hospital has made great strides in saving the lives of stroke patients," noted Bingham. "We will continue working to educate the community about recognizing the signs of stroke and the importance of seeking immediate care at an Advanced Primary Stroke Center such as what we have here at AVH."