Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center Now the Region’s First Certified, Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Center for Stroke Treatment

Feb 10, 2020

San Luis Obispo, Calif. – February 10, 2020 – Tenet Health Central Coast’s Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center (TSC) Certification. This certification signifies the hospital meets rigorous standards for performing mechanical thrombectomy, a specialized minimally invasive procedure used to remove a blood clot from the brain during a large vessel occlusive ischemic stroke.

SVRMC-~1“The accreditation recognizes Sierra Vista’s quality and leading-edge treatment for ischemic strokes thanks to expert neurosurgeons, staff and the use of mechanical thrombectomy,” said Mark Lisa, CEO of Tenet Health Central Coast. “We are proud to be certified as the first Advanced Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center in the region.”

According to The Joint Commission, the next closest Advanced Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Centers are in Burlingame (San Mateo County) to the north, Bakersfield (Kern County) to the east and there is a Comprehensive Stroke Center in Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara County). All are approximately two hours away from San Luis Obispo via automobile.

“We know up to 87 percent of strokes are ischemic in nature and we can provide the current state-of-the-art treatment so our loved ones can have better outcomes and are close to home, versus being transported or transferred two hours north, south or east for care,” said Michelle Brimer, RN, Stroke and Sepsis Coordinator at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. “Time is brain, and when a stroke occurs, blood flow to the brain is interrupted: without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells die. During a stroke emergency, about two million brains cells die per minute.”

Ischemic strokes are usually caused by a clot that blocks a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain, but these types of strokes are largely treatable if a patient gets to a hospital that can provide the right treatment in time. This is why a TSC in the region is important to San Luis Obispo County communities.

Sierra Vista was evaluated during an onsite review for compliance with the TSC requirements that were developed with input from experts on comprehensive stroke treatment and stroke program management. To be eligible for the certification, the hospital was required to meet strict guidelines that include performing mechanical thrombectomy on a minimum of 15 patients in the past year, or 30 patients in the past two years, and the capability to perform mechanical thrombectomy 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The hospital’s primary neurointerventionalists – the physicians who routinely perform emergency Mechanical Thrombectomy – also must meet the highest standards of subspecialty training.

Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Stroke Association, said, “This certification reflects a hospital’s commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients. We congratulate Tenet Health Central Coast for this outstanding achievement.”

“Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care. We commend Tenet Health Central Coast for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients,” said Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, COO of Accreditation and Certification Operations and CNO of The Joint Commission.

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