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March 7, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has been awarded the advanced certification for designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Ohio State has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as meeting the Joint Commission’s standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification.

26 centers in the United States, from the list of 900 primary stroke centers, have received this award. Comprehensive Stroke Centers offer a high level of care for patients with the most severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease. Only two other Ohio hospitals have achieved this elite status.

"By achieving this advanced certification, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

Comprehensive Stroke Centers are recognized as industry leaders and are responsible for setting the national agenda in highly-specialized stroke care. Comprehensive Stroke Center certification recognizes those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes.

With about 20 research projects, Ohio State’s stroke program is researching the next breakthroughs in stroke prevention, diagnosis and care. In addition, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center is the only central Ohio hospital participating in Neurological Treatment Trials Network that conducts studies to learn how to improve emergency care for severe injuries and illnesses of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center underwent a rigorous onsite review on Dec. 3-4, 2012. Joint Commission experts reviewed Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s compliance with the Comprehensive Stroke Center standards and requirements including advanced imaging capabilities, around-the-clock availability of specialized treatments including “telestroke,” and expert staff to care for complex stroke patients.

Ohio State is a hub for the stroke telemedicine network that uses innovative technology designed to provide faster and more efficient diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients in largely rural areas of Ohio. When a suspected stroke patient arrives in the emergency department of one of the 18 participating rural hospitals, a “stroke alert” is activated at both Ohio State and the receiving hospital.

This alert mobilizes a team of stroke experts who, through the use of telemetry and real-time testing and patient interview, are able to deliver intravenous thromolytics (clot buster) medications at the rural hospital within minutes, and determine what is the next best treatment option for the patient. Ohio State’s stroke team, which includes vascular neurologists, neurocritical care physicians and vascular neurosurgeons, is available around the clock.

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is the No. 4 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so the brain cells die, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).

“Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center is thoroughly committed to providing our patients with the highest quality stroke care based on current scientific research to ensure continuous improvement in care,” said Dr. Michel Torbey, medical director of Ohio State’s Neurovascular Stroke Center.

Each year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, according to the AHA/ASA. Stroke kills more than 137,000 people each year; about 40 percent of stroke deaths occur in males, and 60 percent in females.

“Comprehensive Stroke Center certification has given us the opportunity to highlight the exceptional stroke care we provide for our patients, and improved care overall for the benefit of our community,” said Dr. Eric Sauvageau, surgical director of Ohio State’s Neurovascular Stroke Center.

Comprehensive Stroke Center certification was developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the Brain Attack Coalition and on recommendations from a multidisciplinary advisory panel of experts in complex stroke care.  

"The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association congratulates Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center on this certification," said Dr. Mark J. Alberts, AHA/ASA spokesperson and vice-chair of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Comprehensvie Stroke Centers offer a high level of caire for patients with themost severe and challenging types of strokes and cerebrovascular disease."

For more information on The Joint Commission and American Heart Association’s Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Center visit or

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Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or