St. Anthony Hospital is a Comprehensive Stroke Center with the state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training necessary to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes.
The Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association, recognizes a select group of hospitals with the state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training necessary to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes.
Our rapid response to stroke, advanced stroke treatment capabilities and acute stroke rehabilitation means stroke victims and their families will find exceptional, compassionate care paired with the absolute best in technology, expertise and experience. Plus, we have a strong partnership with prehospital EMS, so stroke treatment begins en route to the hospital in the earliest minutes to minimize brain damage.
We also know that stroke can be prevented, that's why we're committed to helping you lower your risk and prevent stroke before it happens.
Diagnosing Stroke at St. Anthony Hospital
The St. Anthony Hospital neuroradiology department uses advanced diagnostics and Imaging to diagnose stroke and enable specialists to determine the best course of treatment. Our interventional radiologists are board certified by the American Board of Radiology and have sub-specialty fellowship training encompassing all disciplines of radiologic imaging and intervention.
Acute Stroke Imaging:
- STAT Computerized Tomography (CT) Scanning
- Magnetic Resonance Angiography
Imaging of blood vessels:
- Carotid Ultrasound
- Transcranial Doppler (TCD)
- Catheter Angiography and CT Angiography
- Diffusion MRI
- Transesophageal Contrast Echocardiograph
iSchemaView RAPID technology - game changer in stroke treatment
Game changing is the term neuro-interventionalist Mark Murray, MD, of CHPG Neuroscience and Spine uses to describe St. Anthony Hospital’s new iSchemaView RAPID technology. The new medical imaging software—the first such system in Colorado--augments existing CT perfusion studies and MRIs to deliver visual confirmation that interventions are available to save brain tissue.
“We have been so beholden to a time ‘window’ following stroke in which to intervene,” Dr. Murray states. “But we’ve also known there were likely patients we could have helped significantly, if we could have seen the tissue image real-time. This technology gives us the qualitative information to open up that time frame.”
Moreover, the technology makes it possible to alert all members of the St. Anthony Hospital stroke team immediately, relaying images of the patient’s brain to their smart phones. “This shifts our ‘speed to decision’ to less than two minutes,” Dr. Murray notes, “and it’s accessible 24/7/365.”
Another benefit of RAPID, according to Dr. Murray, is that it makes communication with family members much easier. “We can now show images to family members that clearly illustrate what part of the brain has been damaged and what part is at risk, which helps them better understand their loved one’s condition and treatment options.”
“This is an extremely valuable tool for our stroke team members and a huge asset for our patients,” said Richard Smith, MD, Medical Director of Neurosciences for the Mountains and North Denver Operating Group of Centura Health. “St. Anthony Hospital is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. Our professional, highly trained staff and state-of-the-art infrastructure that now includes RAPID, coupled with our certified and vetted procedures. allow our stroke team to treat patients, no matter how complex, with the best care available in Colorado.”
Acute care team
Minutes count when responding to stroke. Effective and safe treatment of stroke requires immediate and expert emergency medical attention. That's why St. Anthony Hospital's Acute Stroke Team is available around the clock.
Our acute care stroke team provides immediate and experienced stroke expertise to determine if the latest treatments such as clot-busting medications, can benefit a stroke patient. The team provides stroke patients with rapid access to expert diagnosis and treatment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Consisting of emergency medicine specialists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-interventional specialists, radiologists, critical care specialists, nurses and radiology technicians the Acute Stroke Team provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment to stroke victims.
Specialized care for neuro patients is provided in a dedicated Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and acute care unit, where patients receive coordinated care, comprehensive monitoring and expert intervention from the multidisciplinary team. The NICU is equipped with state-of-the-science monitoring equipment and is staffed by a skilled and experienced team of physicians, nurses, therapists and other medical support professionals. Here, physicians, therapists and counselors provide care to patients throughout their stay, a unique aspect that has been shown to improve a patient's sense of well being and decrease the length of stay. Experts from other medical disciplines are readily available for consultation, further enhancing the recovery process, and promoting a faster return to an optimal level of health and activity.
Physicians in multiple specialties at St. Anthony Hospital combine their expertise to provide comprehensive care for patients who have suffered a stroke. The collaboration of these specialists provides each patient with the best possible treatment options and the highest quality of care. Team members in the Stroke and Neurovascular Program excel in diagnosing and treating stroke through a wide range of treatment options. Physicians are up-to-date on the latest research findings and treatment techniques.
Stroke specialists include:
- Emergency medicine specialists
- Neurologists - physicians specializing in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system.
- Neuro-interventional specialists - radiologists and neurosurgeons trained in minimally invasive interventional procedures to treat a variety of vascular (blood vessel) disorders of the brain.
- Neurosurgeons - surgeons who treat disorders affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves and spine.
- Intensivists - physicians who have specialized training in critical care medicine.
- Vascular surgeons - surgeons who specialize in diseases of the blood vessels.
- Rehabilitation specialists with training in stroke.
Flight For Life
This internationally regarded air and ground ambulance resource was born at St. Anthony Hospital and serves those in need of critical care transport across the Rocky Mountain Region. Stroke patients from throughout Colorado and neighboring states are flown to St. Anthony Hospital for stroke care.
Our Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility (IRF) is an 18 bed unit located on the 7th floor of St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, CO. The hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center and award-winning Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Stroke Program holds a Gold Seal of approval from the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and has earned numerous American Heart Association/American Stroke Association awards.
Recurrent stroke prevention
Recurrence of stroke is common.
After a stroke, the stroke team at St. Anthony Hospital follows The Joint Commission clinical performance measures to prevent another stroke including:
- Discharging patient with antithrombotics - the patient is discharged with medication that prevents the formation of blood clots.
- Patients with atrial fibrillation receive anticoagulation therapy - about 15 percent of strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm). During atrial fibrillation, the atria (two upper chambers of the heart) quiver instead of beating normally. Blood does not pump completely out of the atria and may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot leaves the heart and becomes lodged in a brain artery, a stroke results. Anticoagulation therapy involves prescribing blood thinning medication that prevents the formation of blood clots.
- Lipid profile - an elevated serum lipid level is a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Elevated lipid levels are also related to the incidence of stroke. The reduction of LDL cholesterol, through lifestyle modification and medication, for the prevention of stroke and other vascular events is recommended for patients with coronary artery disease. A lipid profile blood test is recommended for all stroke patients. A lipid profile usually includes total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
- Stroke education - providing education about stroke for patients and care providers
- Smoking cessation - smoking is a serious risk factor for a stroke. Before discharge, stroke patients who smoke receive counseling and information on ways to quit smoking. St. Anthony Central Hospital also offers a individualized smoking cessation program with a certified addiction counselor
- Antithrombotic medication within 48 hours of hospitalization - patients recovering from a mild stroke or who have had a recent transient ischemic attack (TIA or "mini" stroke) are at high risk of having another stroke. Antithrombotic drugs, which prevent the formation of blood clots, should be given with 48 hours of symptom onset in acute ischemic stroke patients who meet certain guidelines for these drugs. Antiplatelet therapy is also recommended for most patients w/TIAs.
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) considered
tPA is a clot-dissolving drug approved by the FDA to treat ischemic stroke (blood clots in the brain) in the first three hours after the start of symptoms. The sooner tPA or other appropriate treatment is begun, the better the chances for recovery.
- DVT prophylaxis (prevention of leg vein blood clots) - deep vein thrombosis (DVT) involves the formation of a clot in the veins in the lower leg and the thigh. This clot may interfere with circulation and may break off and travel through the blood vessels and cause another stroke. Patients experiencing stroke that involves a partially or totally paralyzed leg are at increased risk of developing DVT. DVT prevention is recommended for at-risk patients to reduce the risk of another stroke. Preventive measures include the use of blood thinning medications, compression stockings and pneumatic (air) compression of the legs.
- Screen for dysphagia - a stroke can affect many body functions, including the ability to swallow. Stroke patients are at particular risk of aspiration (choking) because of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). All stroke patients should be checked for their ability to swallow.
- Rehabilitation plan considered - before discharge, stroke patients should be assessed and receive rehabilitation services to enhance their recovery and minimize functional disabilities.