NewYork-Presbyterian Receives NY State Stroke Center Designation

Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center of NewYork-Presbyterian Recognized for Exemplary Stroke Care, Speed, Quality and Treatment Advances

Mar 23, 2006


Treating stroke quickly and effectively is the difference between life and death or permanent disability. In recognition that it has met the highest standard for the treatment of stroke patients including speed of treatment and cutting-edge treatment advances NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has received Stroke Center designation from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) at its two academic medical centers: Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"As NewYork-Presbyterian has met the State's specific and stringent criteria, this designation is a testament to the strength of the collaboration between neurology and emergency medicine, and to the excellence of the entire stroke team including physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, researchers and support staff," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian.

At each of its main campuses, NewYork-Presbyterian's stroke centers will be led by neurologists Dr. Ralph Sacco (NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia) and Dr. Alan Z. Segal (NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell) in partnership with their respective chiefs of emergency medicine, Dr. James Giglio and Dr. Neal Flomenbaum.

One of the largest stroke centers in the nation, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is also one of the first hospitals with a dedicated stroke center, having first offered comprehensive and coordinated care focused on stroke beginning in 1983. Since the introduction of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) therapy in 1995 an advance that revolutionized stroke treatment and necessitated lightning-quick response the Hospital has offered "brain attack teams" ready on a 24/7 basis.

"Speed of treatment for stroke is absolutely critical. As a designated Stroke Center, we have demonstrated that from the time a patient arrives in an ambulance, we are able to evaluate and treat them within minutes," says Dr. Alan Z. Segal, associate professor of clinical neurology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and director of the Stroke Center at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Clot-busting drugs like tPA, when given to patients intravenously within three hours of stroke onset, has been shown to significantly reduce the number of negative outcomes in stroke."

NewYork-Presbyterian is also one of the only New York City hospitals to offer patients clot extraction an endovascular procedure that physically removes clots from within blood vessels. This treatment expands the treatment window from three to eight hours. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's Dr. Pierre Gobin invented the device used in this procedure the MERCI extractor.

Through its two academic medical centers, NewYork-Presbyterian is helping to bring the latest advances to stroke patients. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is one of seven centers nationally to be awarded a Specialized Program in Translational Research in Acute Stroke (SPOTRIAS) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Our SPOTRIAS research includes studies of statins for stroke patients, fMRI to help explain variability in early stroke outcomes, and a culturally sensitive educational program to help economically disadvantaged patients better recognize the symptoms of stroke," says Dr. Ralph Sacco, associate chairman of neurology and professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the stroke and critical care division at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "A separate research study seeks to identify risk factors and genetic determinants of stroke and vascular disease in a multi-ethnic population."

The success of stroke centers is contingent on a rapid coordinated response from a multidisciplinary team, beginning with emergency medical clinicians, to critical care medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, interventional neuro-radiology and occupational therapists all who receive appropriate up-to-date training in stroke care.

Comprehensive stroke treatment includes follow-up care, including appropriate occupational therapy (retraining the body to do many everyday tasks like turning a doorknob) and educational materials for patients and their families (including information on signs and symptoms of stroke, prognosis, potential complications and support services).

Stroke affects about 700,000 people in the U.S. each year. It is the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death. Although the death rate from stroke is in decline, the prevalence of stroke is increasing as the population ages and as life expectancy increases. Warning signs of stroke include sudden onset of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the face or body
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Trouble with vision in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty walking or loss of balance
  • Severe headache with no known cause

Patients with these symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance by calling 9-1-1.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital based in New York City is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,344 beds. It provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health-care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education, and community service. It ranks among the top ten in U.S.News & World Report's guide to "America's Best Hospitals," has the greatest number of physicians listed in New York magazine's "Best Doctors" issue, and is included among Solucient's top 15 major teaching hospitals. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System which includes acute-care and community hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory sites and specialty institutes is committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective and conveniently accessible care to communities throughout the tri-state metropolitan region. The System serves one in four patients in the New York metropolitan area.


Kathleen Robinson

[email protected]