JACKSON, Miss. — With the recent addition of the Stroke System of Care in place at hospitals throughout the state, Mississippi is now the first in the nation to have a third statewide system of care in place to save time in medical procedures and help save the lives of its residents.
The Stroke System of Care joins the ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Care Plan and the Trauma Care System as a statewide system in place to treat patients more quickly and efficiently.
These statewide systems establish a common protocol for first responders to identify certain life-threatening conditions, provide specialized treatment in the field, and transport the patient to the facility best able to render appropriate care quickly. Such integrated systems of care have been shown to save lives in critical circumstances compared to conventional first responder procedures.
“This third statewide system of care has been facilitated through leadership of the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance,” said Jim Craig, MSDH Director of Health Protection. “Mississippians have greatly benefited from the STEMI and Trauma systems by being transported to the appropriate facility for treatment, based on the nearest facility’s capability of care. With the Stroke System, the same principle is in place.”
Hospitals can designate themselves as “stroke ready,” meaning the facility has 24/7 CT capability and a specific type of drug available to break up blood clots. Stroke centers must have a neurologist available 24/7, and comprehensive stroke centers must have the capability to conduct interventional neurology.
After an initial examination, blood work, and CT scans, initial therapy is given at designated “stroke-ready” hospitals before transition to an official stroke center.
Currently there are two Level 1 comprehensive stroke centers in Mississippi and four Level 2 stroke centers. The majority of the hospitals in Mississippi are Level 3 “Drip and Ship” hospitals meaning ability to diagnose and stabilize a patient for transfer to a Level 1 or 2.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Mississippi, with nearly one in five stroke deaths occurring in those 65 and younger. Mississippi’s stroke mortality rate is the fifth highest in the nation, and the stroke death rate is more than 23 percent above the overall U.S. rate.
The Stroke System of Care is a collaborate effort between the MSDH, the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance, the Mississippi Hospital Association, and the American Heart Association.
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