UCLA Stroke Center Awarded Comprehensive Certification

Sunday, 7 Apr 2013, 9:04:00 AM

Mirror Staff

The UCLA Telestroke Program, part of the UCLA Stroke Center, provides 24/7 consultations to distant community hospitals. Program director Dr. Latisha Ali is shown on the video monitor.
Courtesy photo
The UCLA Telestroke Program, part of the UCLA Stroke Center, provides 24/7 consultations to distant community hospitals. Program director Dr. Latisha Ali is shown on the video monitor.

The UCLA Stroke Center has been certified as a

comprehensive stroke center by the Joint Commission and the American Heart

Association / American Stroke Association. The center, part of UCLA Health and

the UCLA Department of Neurology, is one of the first 10 stroke centers in the

nation to receive the prestigious designation. 

The certification, which confirms that the UCLA Stroke

Center has met the highest national standards for safety and quality of care,

further enhances the center’s national reputation as an innovator in clinical


“This is a true team effort, reflecting the efforts of

over 200 physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and technologists at the

UCLA Stroke Center and spanning all of UCLA Health,” said Dr. Jeffrey Saver,

the center’s director and a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School

of Medicine at UCLA. “It is a reflection of our team’s sustained, collective

commitment to saving the lives of our stroke patients.” 

The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit

organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care

organizations and programs in the United States, conducted a rigorous on-site

review at UCLA, collecting data and evaluating the center’s performance based

on the commission’s requirements for the certification. 

The commission now certifies two levels of stroke care,

“primary” and “comprehensive.” Comprehensive stroke centers offer the highest

level of care, including neuro-intensive care units, complex neurosurgical

interventions, and advanced brain and blood-vessel imaging. 

Since the UCLA Stroke Center was established in 1994, it

has offered stroke patients state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled

specialists, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As part of a major academic

institution, the center also has been a world leader in researching and

implementing new ways to improve stroke survival and recovery. 

For example, nearly a decade ago, center researchers

invented the MERCI Retriever – a mechanical device that removed stroke-causing

clots from the brain. The center supplanted the MERCI device last February with

the SOLITAIRE Flow Restoration Device, which dramatically outperformed the

standard mechanical treatment. SOLITAIRE proved to be so superior that the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration ended its clinical trial nearly a year earlier

than planned due to SOLITAIRE’s significantly better outcomes. 

The UCLA Stroke Center was also an innovator with the

establishment, in 2009, of its Telestroke Network Partner Program, which gives

emergency departments at community hospitals across California the opportunity

for direct, immediate, around-the-clock video consultations with UCLA stroke

neurology experts.

Within 15 minutes of being contacted, a neurologist can be

interviewing and counseling a patient and family and performing a

stroke-specific neurologic exam through a two-way video connection. The UCLA

stroke specialist can view any local diagnostic images online as well. 

The commission’s certification shows that UCLA has

achieved the highest standard of stroke care by ensuring that patients receive

treatment according to nationally accepted standards and


“The dual mission of the UCLA Stroke Center is to

provide the best possible care for every patient with cerebrovascular disease

and to innovate new methods to diagnose, treat and cure stroke,” said Dr. Neil

Martin, chair of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery and a member of the UCLA

Stroke Center’s steering committee. “We look forward to serving the Los Angeles

community as a certified comprehensive stroke center.”

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