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Stroke and Neurovascular Center

Stroke and t-PA

The Stroke and Neurovascular Center at Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Medical Center is designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. It was the first stroke center in the tri-state area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut) to receive this designation.

The hospital is a recipient of the Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award – the highest level distinction – in the Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Program from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Additionally, JFK Medical Center is the recipient of the Target Stroke Honor Roll Award and the Healthgrades Stroke Care Excellence Award.

We are a leader in providing around-the-clock comprehensive stroke services in the New York metropolitan area. Our program has been ranked in the top 10 percent in the United States for stroke care by Healthgrades.

Mission

Our mission is to provide an outstanding level of comprehensive and specialized inpatient and outpatient care to patients who have neurovascular disease. This care is provided through a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach and entails use of the most current and effective treatment strategies. These protocols are executed by experts within the fields of vascular neurology, neurocritical care, neurointerventional surgery, neurology nursing, emergency medicine, pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine, neuroradiology, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, and rehabilitation medicine.

Stroke is a Medical Emergency - "Time lost is brain lost"

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Also known as Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), stroke is the result of a sudden reduction of blood flow to an area of the brain. When this happens, sensation, movement, and/or functions controlled by that area of the brain become impaired or lost.

Approximately 87 percent of strokes are ischemic infarctions (a sudden clot or build-up within the brain) and the rest are hemorrhagic (a rupture or breakage of a blood vessel within the brain). When ischemic stroke occurs, medication (t-PA) ‒ if given quickly ‒ can help open blockages and preserve brain cells thereby reducing disability.

Activase (Alteplase) or Intravenous t-PA is a medication that research shows can improve neurological recovery and reduce the incidence of disability. Our goal at JFK Medical Center is to administer this medication to patients within three hours of the onset of symptoms. Please note that not all patients are candidates for this medication.

Stroke Treatment Measurement

The graph below indicates the percentage of patients who arrived within two hours of onset of their stroke symptoms and were treated with the medication t-PA by hour three. It also shows JFK Medical Center’s performance compared with other Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Centers (CSTK) nationwide, as well as all New Jersey hospitals.

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Stroke Treatment Performance

In 2017 and Quarter 1 2018, JFK Medical Center treated more patients with t-PA within the three-hour time frame compared with other certified Joint Commission CSTK hospitals across the nation and among all NJ hospitals.

We have accomplished this by developing systems and processes that are successfully executed by our highly trained multidisciplinary stroke treatment team. Our goal is to administer t-PA to every stroke patient who is a candidate within the three-hour window. We continue to evaluate our performance and remain intent on reaching this goal.

What can YOU do to minimize the effects of a stroke?

The first step is to learn and recognize these stroke symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body)
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

The second step is to call 9-1-1 immediately and get transported by EMS to the nearest designated stroke center for rapid evaluation and emergency treatment.

The good news is that 80 percent of stroke occurrence can be prevented by learning the stroke risk factors and modifying your personal stroke risk factors.

Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Medical Center is a Joint Commission Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, specially equipped with diagnostic capability to diagnose and treat all complex strokes cases, including brain aneurysms. Our award-winning stroke program’s multidisciplinary team provides specialized stroke care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Stroke care begins with the transport to the hospital and continues from the Emergency Department to the Neurological Interventional suite, through in-hospital care on the Neurological Critical Care Unit and Stroke Unit, and finally through Stroke Rehabilitation. At JFK Medical Center, comprehensive stroke care is all under one roof.