Henry Ford Hospital Stroke Care Program Earns Elite Status

June 21, 2016


Detroit – A pioneer in stroke treatment and research, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, has officially solidified its position as a national leader in stroke care. The Joint Commission has awarded the hospital its Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center certification, the highest designation of its kind.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized among this elite group of providers,” says John Popovich, M.D., CEO of Henry Ford Hospital. “Henry Ford has long been a statewide and national leader in neuroscience, and this designation has given us a unique opportunity to highlight the exceptional stroke care we provide for our patients.”

The hospital underwent a rigorous review of 200 care standards. The new designation means any stroke patient across the entire Henry Ford Health System has access to the most advanced technology, specialized treatment available day or night, 365 days a year, and a uniquely educated and highly trained team prepared to act at a moment’s notice.

Panayiotis Mitsias, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Stroke and Neurovascular Center at Henry Ford Hospital, says that’s the very essence behind the Ford Acute Stroke Treatment Team – or FAST Team. “We know that when it comes to stroke care, time matters. The FAST team can rapidly diagnose a patient at any Henry Ford emergency department and determine in minutes if they need to be flown to Henry Ford Hospital for advanced surgical or catheter-based treatments. ”

One of those treatments involves the use of a tiny catheter that travels directly into the brain, effectively stopping a stroke as it’s happening. “One of the most common causes of stroke is a blood clot that blocks the normal flow of blood to the brain. This interruption of blood flow cuts off the brain’s oxygen supply – the brain literally begins to die,” says Max Kole, M.D., Neurointerventionalist at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dr. Kole says, “These endovascular techniques with catheters are capable of dissolving and retrieving the occlusive clots and restoring the normal blood flow in seconds. When you combine this advanced treatment with the multidisciplinary resources and clinical experience we already have, Henry Ford Hospital is truly the best place for patients to be.”

Among those resources is the drug commonly known as tPA. Administered within the first four and a half hours of a stroke onset, it also targets those clots and improves blood flow. Henry Ford was instrumental in developing it, serving as the national coordinating center and one of the primary sites for the clinical trials. The results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and changed the way hospitals cared for stroke patients nationwide.

Dr. Mitsias says the goal from the very beginning was two-fold. “We wanted to build a stroke program that focused not only on the best patient care, but also the essential research that shapes that care. This certification is the culmination of more than twenty years of dedication to that mission.”

The Joint Commission agrees. “By achieving this advanced certification, Henry Ford Hospital has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of its patients with a complex stroke condition,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., FACP, M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. “Certification is a voluntary process and The Joint Commission commends Henry Ford for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate the standard of its care for the community it serves.”

Nearly 800,000 people suffer strokes annually in the U.S. It’s the leading preventable cause of disability and the fifth leading cause of death nationwide. Henry Ford Hospital is the only certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center in Wayne County and one of only a few in the state of Michigan.

Media Contact:
Brenda D. Craig, MFA
Director, Media Relations
Henry Ford Health System
(313) 283-8331
[email protected]