Sarasota Memorial Hospital now has a third acute care facility certified as a specialized stroke care center.
SMH-Venice has been designated a Primary Stroke Center, a specialty certification that expands SMH’s stroke network and ensures patients have seamless access to the latest advancements in stroke care. It joins SMH-Sarasota, which is a nationally designated Comprehensive Stroke Center for those experiencing highly complex strokes, and its free-standing emergency room in North Port, which is designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Center.
Certified by DNV GL Healthcare, the Primary Stroke Center designation indicates that SMH-Venice completed an onsite survey and met or exceeded all requirements established by state regulators and the national accrediting organization for advanced stroke care.
“With this designation, we are proud to expand Sarasota Memorial’s regional stroke network and offer the people of our community a highly qualified stroke team with the tools and expertise to provide a full range of care for stroke-related emergencies and medical problems,” said Dr. David Stone, a vascular neurologist and medical director of the Primary Stroke Center at SMH-Venice. "Having a primary stroke center closer to where people live means that it's a higher likelihood that they'll be able to get therapies quicker and those therapies will be more effective and safer the sooner that they get them."
Paramedics triage and transport stroke patients to the nearest designated stroke center based on the type and severity of their stroke. More than 85% of strokes are acute ischemic stroke — a clot or clog within a blood vessel blocking blood flow to the brain and depriving it of oxygen. Within the first three hours of symptoms, the majority of patients can be effectively treated with the clot-dissolving drug tPA at the nearest designated stroke center.
Dr. Mauricio Concha, medical director of SMH’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in Sarasota and stroke program in North Port, said the third designation streamlines and standardizes stroke care across the system and in different areas of the county.
"The patients have a quicker access to fast treatment when they are suffering a stroke," Concha said. "Then they can be transferred for a higher level of care to the appropriate facilities, but at least we can get to the stroke as quickly as possible, and we know that as we do that the outcomes are better."
The SMH stroke network offers the full continuum of stroke care, including inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs to help people recover from the effects of a stroke, including education, prevention and an outpatient disease management clinic to help people prevent secondary strokes.
“A comprehensive stroke center gives patients a better chance to walk out with minimal to no disabilities,” Concha said. “We are able to offer treatments above and beyond the standard three hours after the onset of a stroke."