Nebraska Medicine Now a Comprehensive Stroke Center

Published November 6, 2017

William Thorell, MD, endovascular neurosurgeon
William Thorell, MD, endovascular neurosurgeon

Nebraska Medicine was recently certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Brain Attack Coalition – the highest level of stroke certification available.

This advanced designation by the nation’s largest independent health care evaluation body means that Nebraska Medicine is equipped to handle the most complex stroke cases. Nebraska Medicine is the only medical center in the region to receive this certification.

“This establishes by a respected third-party reviewer, that we are the place to be for stroke care,” says William Thorell, MD, Nebraska Medicine endovascular neurosurgeon. “Nebraska Medicine meets the standards that no other institution does in this region for the treatment of all types of stroke patients.”

Nebraska Medicine has the only stroke team in the area capable of providing specialized around-the-clock treatment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are also the only hospital in the region with three fellowship-trained endovascular neurosurgeons trained to surgically treat hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic strokes that affect blood vessels in the brain using innovative, less invasive techniques. Andrew Gard, MD, and Daniel Surdell, MD, are also fellowship-trained endovascular neurosurgeons trained to surgically treat hemorrhagic strokes and ischemic strokes.

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“Endovascular and cerebrovascular neurosurgery are highly specialized fields that allow us to provide options for complex stroke patients that otherwise would not be available in the region,” says Dr. Thorell. “When it comes to treating stroke, immediacy and experience is crucial. These are cases in which every second counts in delivering the most appropriate and expert care.”

The management of medical stroke is also key to improving patient outcomes in stroke. Nebraska Medicine has the largest fellowship-trained vascular neurology group in the region. Pierre Fayad, MD, Marco Gonzales-Castellon, MD, Michael Pichler, MD, along with neurointensivist Daryl Gress, MD, and neurohospitalist Scott Diesing, MD, work alongside the endovascular neurosurgeons to ensure that best practice stroke care is provided throughout the patient’s hospitalization. In addition to the expertise of providers during the acute hospitalization, the  Nebraska Medicine Stroke Program also includes a specialized outpatient stroke clinic dedicated to furthering stroke recovery and secondary stroke prevention with access to sub-specialists in rehabilitation, movement, memory and neuropsychology.   

The dedicated personnel of the Nebraska Medicine stroke team also includes a specialized Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit and a state-of-the-art Stroke Unit with highly trained staff specializing in stroke care. “The Comprehensive Stroke Center certification represents the integration of specialists and staff across multiple areas of expertise that distinguish the Nebraska Medical Center as the destination for stroke care,” says Daryl Gress, MD, neurointensivist at Nebraska Medicine. "To truly be a comprehensive center it is not about any one component of care, it is about a team of individuals that are diligently focused on improving patient outcomes."

The requirements to be a Comprehensive Stroke Center must include:

  • Having a dedicated neurosciences intensive care unit beds for complex stroke patients that provide neuro-critical care 24  hours a day, seven days a week
  • Use of advanced imaging capabilities
  • Annually provide care to 20 or more patients with a diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage; perform 15 or more endovascular coiling or surgical clipping procedures for aneurysm; and administer IV tPA to an average of 15 or more eligible patients
  • Use of a peer-review process to evaluate and monitor the care provided to patients with ischemic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Participating in stroke research

It has been established that those patients who are treated within a few hours of an acute stroke using specialized treatments and medications at the hands of a dedicated and coordinated team experience the most positive outcomes.

“Our skilled and comprehensive stroke team will ensure patients receive the most advanced and comprehensive stroke care from the moment of arrival through recovery,” says Dr. Thorell.