February 20, 2002

UCSD Stroke Center Named
One of Nation’s Best for Stroke Treatment

The UCSD Stroke Center has been recognized by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) as one of the nation’s top academic medical centers providing stroke treatment.

In a nationwide survey of 33 academic (university-affiliated) medical centers and 1,227 patients, the UCSD Stroke Center ranked second overall, measured against a variety of clinical benchmarks, including complication and death rates, length of hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and health counseling prior to discharge. The Medical College of Georgia scored the top marks in the survey.

Patrick Lyden, M.D., discusses treatment progress with  a patient involved in one of the many clinical trials performed at the clinic.

UHC project manager Jackie Dostal noted that “from the moment that a patient enters the Emergency Department at UCSD Medical Center, the UCSD stroke team provides an excellent process of care, with low rates of complication and death. We were very impressed with the consistent quality of the UCSD program for the two survey periods in 2001 and 1999.”

Patrick Lyden, M.D., director of the UCSD Stroke Center, said the results of the survey were obtained “even though UCSD admits one of the highest percentages of severe stroke. In addition, UCSD patients were discharged sooner than in any of the other medical centers, on average after three and one-half days.”

Operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the UCSD Stroke Center is built on three main programs: clinical treatment, education and research. Lyden directs the Center, which includes five physicians, four nurses and two administrators. Lyden was one of the first neurologists in the country to offer clinical trials of the drug tPA for stroke, and he currently is leading a countywide clinical trial of an improved version of tPA called TNK.

Stroke is the third leading killer and the most common cause of adult disability in the United States, the number two killer in the world, and the number one killer in Asia. Blocked arteries cause four out of five crippling strokes. Every year, more than 750,000 Americans fall victim to stroke, more than 60,000 in Southern California. About 150,000 Americans die annually; most of the remainder are left crippled and dependent on others for basic needs.

This recent survey covered January 1 through June 30, 2001, with 40 UCSD patients included in the total. In 1999, the last time UHC surveyed stroke programs, UCSD also was one of the highest ranking stroke centers in quality care provided for patients.

The UHC is a voluntary consortium of academic medical centers that studies health care quality in the United States. UHC conducts surveys on a variety of illnesses and publishes aggregate data.

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Media Contact:
Sue Pondrom

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/