Lebanon, NH – One in four adults will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. World Stroke Day, Thursday, October 29, is meant to raise awareness of ways to prevent stroke, to provide education on the seriousness, treatment and high rates of stroke, and to offer support to stroke survivors.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), which was recently recognized by the American Heart and American Stroke Association with the Get With the Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target: StrokeSM Elite Plus Honor Roll Award, joined other stroke centers in the region to form the New England Comprehensive Stroke Center Collaborative. The goal of the collaborative is to ensure that patients throughout the region who are experiencing stroke will receive immediate care.
During the COVID-19 surge between March and June 2020, several Collaborative members had to pause admissions of new patients for several days at a time due to limitations in intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability. The Collaborative assured that a contingency plan was in place if the pandemic worsened. Coordination and cooperation between these hospitals allowed prompt redirection of stroke patients to other comprehensive stroke centers able to provide urgent life-saving treatment. As a result, no patient presenting to one of the Collaborative member hospitals with severely disabling stroke went untreated as a result of the pandemic.
“I am proud of what the Dartmouth-Hitchcock stroke team and our partners in the New England Comprehensive Stroke Center Collaborative have achieved,” said Timothy Lukovits, MD, Medical Director, Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke Program at DHMC. “Our program’s recent recognition by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and our role in this Collaborative alongside some of the most prestigious programs in the country are testament to our team’s dedication to providing the highest level of care to our patients.”
As the region continues to deal with COVID-19 cases and concerns that the colder fall and winter months will prompt an uptick in cases, DHMC and the 11 other stroke centers in the collaborative pledge to continue working together to provide the best treatment for stroke.
In honor of World Stroke Day, DHMC encourages everyone to know the signs of stroke: F.A.S.T Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911. Time is of the essence when a patient suffers a stroke. Even if their symptoms go away, it is important to take them to the hospital for immediate treatment.
In addition to DHMC, member centers include Baystate Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham And Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Maine Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, Rhode Island Hospital and University of Vermont Medical Center.