Members of the OMC Stroke Care Team

Enhanced Stroke Response at OMC Helps Save Brain Cells

(Pictured) Members of the stroke care team at OMC, which includes Emergency Medicine, Critical Care, Radiology and 3 North.

Time is brain. That's what they say in the Emergency Care Center (ECC) at Olathe Medical Center (OMC). And a newly enhanced stroke algorithm implemented by a team of caregivers at OMC is saving the brain cells of stroke patients.

For every minute an acute ischemic stroke goes untreated, 1.9 million neurons in the brain are permanently lost. So every minute matters. That's what led the Stroke Clinical Team to develop a stroke algorithm, which is a step-by-step process designed to decrease the amount of time it takes to get a stroke patient important medication.

When a patient is brought in with stroke symptoms, the patient is immediately taken to Radiology for a CT scan. The faster medical staff can assess the patient, the faster they can get them tPA, a blood-clot-busting drug that has to be administered within 4.5 hours from when stroke symptoms began (Last Known Normal).

The gold standard timeframe for tPA administration endorsed by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association is 60 minutes from the time the patient presents to the ECC to the time the patient receives tPA (door to needle time). OMC is currently completing door to needle time in about 40 minutes. That's 20 minutes faster than the national recommendation.

The original stroke algorithm was developed two years ago and provides a flow chart for staff to follow, including target timelines for how quickly each step should be completed. The original algorithm accounted for patients who arrived within 6 hours from the onset of stroke symptoms. In January 2019, the Stroke Clinical Team enhanced the algorithm to include a flow chart for patients who arrive between 6 and 20 hours after the onset of their stroke symptoms. 

To implement the plan, the ECC team worked with local EMS to educate them on this algorithm, so EMS can alert the OMC ECC of a potential stroke patient before they arrive. The Stroke Clinical Team continues to analyze the algorithm in an effort to improve their response time.

OMC is the recipient of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With the Guidelines® Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Gold Quality Achievement Award – the highest level – for three consecutive years. OMC is also a recipient of the 2019 Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite award.

Several OMC teams are involved in this algorithm and providing high-quality stroke care: the ECC, Critical Care Unit, Radiology and 3 North.

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