ALTOONA, Pa. – UPMC Altoona has earned the Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC) Certification from The Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).
The new designation reflects an upward progression in clinical capabilities and quality measures for advanced stroke care, including care offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with onsite access to ground-breaking mechanical thrombectomy procedures.
In addition to administering IV medications, these types of minimally invasive endovascular procedures and post-procedural care are critical in treating ischemic strokes – the most common type of stroke – and improving patient outcomes and experience.
“This type of procedure can provide rapid, sometimes even visible, improvement before a patient leaves the surgical suite,” said Cynthia , M.D., Ph.D., chief of neurology and director of the Stroke and Programs at UPMC Altoona. “Our quality certification and 24/7 service for patients is all about providing the most immediate intervention, because every minute matters.”
In stroke care, “time is brain,” which means getting treatment quickly can reverse or mitigate possible damage and could save a patient’s life. Access to care, without needing to transfer a patient, helps eliminate treatment delays. UPMC Altoona is the only facility in a 70-mile radius with this capability, offering around-the-clock care with the support of a full neurology team onsite.
Dr. is joined by a new provider, Mohamed Shehab-Eldin, M.D., specializing in stroke and . The UPMC Altoona Stroke Program is also supported by vascular neurologist Mausaminben Hathidara, M.D.
UPMC Altoona is the regional, level 2 trauma center, with the largest service area in the state, serving 20 counties in west central Pennsylvania, plus patients from neighboring states.
“We have a unique and vitally important role as a core provider of higher-level trauma care in a more rural section of our state and the country,” said Jan Fisher, president, UPMC Altoona. “We are proud to continue our commitment to education and resources for stroke prevention, via condition awareness and management of risk factors, from chronic disease to overall well-being.”
UPMC Altoona has been a Primary Stroke Center since 2003, providing stroke care to an average of 1,700 patients each year, including an increasing number of thrombectomy procedures.
The Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center designation is the second highest level of excellence recognized by The Joint Commission, requiring a rigorous process based on standard of quality measures and evidence-based practice data performance.
All stroke programs in the system are part of the UPMC Stroke Institute, sharing expertise and aligning focus on quality patient care, clinical research and educational efforts.
Immediate response and medical care at the first sign of stroke symptoms are essential. Education like “BE FAST” helps the public know what to look for in themselves or others. Preventive care of risk factors and related conditions lessens the likelihood of a major stroke event. Information and resources can be found online via the UPMC Stroke Institute.