UC Irvine’s Dr. Cramer analyzes county’s stroke centers

February 12, 2011

UC Irvine stroke neurologist Dr. Steven Cramer discussed the accomplishments of the Orange County Stroke-Receiving System at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles this week.

Cramer, who was the driving force for the system’s creation in 2009, analyzed stroke treatment and patient outcomes in the first year of operation.

“A countywide comprehensive stroke system, organized among hospitals most of which were organized stroke centers at the start, can provide effective stroke response and acute care,” Cramer concluded.

Cramer’s analysis found that stoke patients treated in Orange County’s system received the clot-busting drug tPA at substantially higher rates than the national averages.

The effort’s goal was to improve stroke care to Orange County residents by diverting those with stroke symptoms to the hospitals best-equipped to treat stroke. It utilized a “hub” and “spoke” arrangement in which patients needing a higher level of care would be transferred to a hub hospital.

UC Irvine Medical Center was among six facilities that formed the “hub” hospitals, which all met the Brain Attack Coalition standards for comprehensive stroke centers or were Joint Commission-certified primary stroke centers. Three other hospitals were added but do not receive patient transfers because they do not have an available interventional neuroradiologist, a physician trained to use devices that can pull a clot out of a patient’s brain.

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