Why 24/7 stroke coverage makes a difference

For people who suffer a stroke, faster treatment greatly improves patient outcome. Leading the way in stroke care, the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center provides a 24/7 rapid-response stroke team that can diagnose and treat patients in minutes.

This 24/7 service is a major differentiator for Erlanger’s stroke center and a key reason why it is regarded one of the most accomplished stroke centers in the nation. It has been awarded the Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification by both The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

According to Dr. Abdelazim Sirelkhatim, Co-Director of the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center, “To be considered a Comprehensive Stroke Center, you must be able to begin treatment within an hour. Because of our 24/7 on-site coverage, we are often able to begin treatment within 20 minutes of the patient’s arrival.”

Why faster speed means better results

When the Southeast Regional Stroke Center expanded service to provide 24/7 care, it set the stage for world-class efficiency. Stroke center attending physicians and neurologists are available all day, every day in person or by phone. The center also offers 24/7 neuro imaging services to help diagnose stroke activity and a 24/7 pharmacologist to manage medication.

These round-the-clock services have enabled the center to put smart practices in place to ensure the fastest and best care possible.

“When a stroke patient comes to Erlanger, he or she is immediately greeted by the stroke team,” says Dr. Sirelkhatim. “Often, we receive the patient’s history while the patient is being transported to our center. If not, we get the history from EMS while rushing the patient for a CT scan. Within five minutes, we are able to identify possible bleeding and the time the stroke likely occurred.”

If conditions are favorable, the team is able to administer IV t-PA treatment to break up the clot right in the CT room.

“We store the medication in the CT lab, so there is no unnecessary delay,” says Dr. Sirelkhatim. “You need to administer IV t-PA within four and a half hours of the stroke’s onset to be effective, so speed is essential.”

How LIFE FORCE helps improve the odds for stroke victims

In 2015, Erlanger treated more than 2,300 stroke patients, many from remote locations in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. With the help of LIFE FORCE air ambulance, the Southeast Regional Stroke Center is able to receive patients within a 125-mile radius of Chattanooga in half the time — often a third of the time it would take to drive. For a stroke victim, these minutes are significant.

As Dr. Sirelkhatim explains, “It’s all about time, because time is brain. By shortening the transportation time, we are able to improve patient outcomes. In addition, the LIFE FORCE team is very well trained. They are able to administer emergency care to help stabilize the patient.”

In some cases, patients are able to begin IV t-PA treatments at a smaller hospital, and then be air lifted to Erlanger for more extensive care including endovascular treatment to remove clots.

Speed, service and results. Isn’t it good to know we have a world-class stroke center so close to home?

Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center is one of the largest stroke centers in the nation and a world leader in interventional care. Learn more about our 24/7 stroke coverage, clinical trials and advanced treatments.