Comprehensive Stroke Center

What is a Comprehensive Stroke Center?

The OHSU Stroke Center at the OHSU Brain Institute has been officially certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The certification is by the Joint Commission, our hospital accreditation organization. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized as a symbol of quality that shows a hospital’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. OHSU is the first hospital in the Pacific Northwest and the 27th hospital in the U.S. to receive this certification.

What are the different levels of stroke treatment?

Basic care

In a hospital with the first level of basic or “stroke-ready” care, you’d be examined and the doctors would decide if you could be treated there or if you’d need to be transferred to another hospital for more advanced care.

Basic care answers questions such as:

  • Are you breathing safely?
  • Is your blood pressure too high or too low?
  • What kind of stroke is happening, and when did it occur?

This first level of stroke care is available at excellent stroke-ready hospitals around the state. Some of these local hospitals can provide a specific stroke treatment called “clot buster” therapy. This is “tissue plasminogen activator,” or TPA, which attempts to open up the artery causing the stroke.

The decision to give TPA often involves discussing your case with a stroke specialist doctor in another location. This is done by phone—or more recently, by using video “telestroke” evaluations. OHSU currently has a nine-hospital telestroke network where we can evaluate someone having a stroke and assist local hospitals around the state.

If TPA is given, you will probably be transferred to a larger hospital for further care.

Primary Stroke Center

The next level of stroke care is a “Primary Stroke Center.” These hospitals have been certified by The Joint Commission  to be fully capable of delivering acute stroke treatment, including TPA. They provide extensive evaluation and detailed management of someone having a stroke. A Primary Stroke Center also has intensive care and offers stroke rehabilitation services.

OHSU has been a primary stroke center since 2007.Currently, 14 hospitals in Oregon are Primary Stroke Center-certified.

What are the benefits of a Comprehensive Stroke Center?

For many people, TPA alone may not be enough. Sometimes, more advanced, “interventional” techniques are needed. These interventional techniques try to pull out the clot causing the stroke.

Other types of stroke can be caused by an artery breaking inside the brain (a cerebral hemorrhage) or an artery popping on the surface of the brain (a subarachnoid hemorrhage). For these very critical strokes, we need specialized doctors such as neurointerventionalists and cerebrovascular neurosurgeons to help stop the bleeding in the brain by using special clips or coils. If you have one of these types of strokes, you will usually need to be monitored very closely in a specialized neurosciences intensive care unit. A Comprehensive Stroke Center offers these capabilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

About the OHSU Stroke Center

At the OHSU Stroke Center at OHSU Brain Institute our stroke specialists are experts in the most advanced stroke treatments. We work as a team and bring together experts from all areas of OHSU to make sure you receive the best treatment available.