A corkscrew-type device winds through arteries and up to the brain of a stroke Patient, pulling out a blood clot and saving part of their brain function.

It’s the type of innovative technique that marks Sparrow’s Stroke Center.

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer and is the leading cause of severe, long-term disability.

Quick action is essential when a stroke occurs. Our team of experts from neurology, neurosurgery, internal medicine and other disciplines have the capability to stop a stroke in progress, giving Patients the best chance at immediate recovery.

Sparrow is the first Michigan hospital to be designated as a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.

That designation – given to an elite network of facilities nationwide – recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts toward delivering the best care possible to "complex stroke" Patients. It means Sparrow complies with national standards on care and performance.

The standards are rigorous, rating performance on such issues as how quickly critical care is administered to a Patient after they have suffered a stroke.

30-day readmission - Stroke

Rates of readmission show whether a hospital is doing its best to prevent complications, provide clear discharge instructions to Patients, and ensure Patients make a smooth transition to their home or another setting such as a nursing home. Our goal is to make sure our Patients go home at the right time with the right resources.

Performance (January to March 2014): 0% unplanned readmissions
How are we doing?: Better than 2013
Data Source: Sparrow Data Analytics

Mortality - Stroke

We track the rate of hospital mortality for Patients being treated for many conditions. Our goal is to have a rate no more than what is expected based on the severity of the Patient’s illness.

Performance (January to March 2014): 12.2%
Expected: 9.4%
How are we doing?: Higher than expected
Data Source: Sparrow Data Analytics

What are we doing to improve? We review each death to evaluate whether care was right. We assure that treatments proven to decrease the chance of death are correctly used. We use an early warning scoring process to alert Caregivers of a worsening condition that requires a rapid response.

Appropriate Care Score - Stroke

This score shows how often Patients received all recommended treatments for their clinical condition. Goal is 100%.

Performance (January to March 2014): 90%
How are we doing?: Better than 2013.  National comparative not available
Data Source: Quantros

What are we doing to improve? We use reminders in our computerized medical record to alert Caregivers that a certain treatment is recommended. We use specialized Nurses to check on Patients with certain conditions to make sure treatments have been ordered and started. We give our Caregivers feedback on how well they are doing.

Stroke Care

In addition to readmission and mortality rates for stroke, we monitor our complication rates for procedures related to stroke care. Complications related to diagnostic brain angiography, carotid endarterectomy and carotid stents can be devastating.  Our goal is to avoid these events and have a rate that is lower than expected.

Complications related to diagnostic procedures for stroke related illness

Performance (January to December 2013): 0.5%
Expected (From Brain Attack Coalition): Less than 1%
How are we doing?: Better than expected

Complications related to procedures to open narrow or blocked carotid arteries that carry blood to the brain

Performance (January to December 2013): 1.9%
Expected (From Brain Attack Coalition): Less than 6%
How are we doing? Better than expected
Data source: Internal review by our Quality Department and Stroke Program physicians.

Sparrow also has been recognized for its quick use of a clot-busting drug, or tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), in a statewide clinical trial. Sparrow is among America’s best when it comes to distribution of tPA, surpassing the average of all other hospitals in nearly every category. The results for 2013 are listed below:

Stroke Admission in 2013

  • 750 ischemic (clot causing) stroke, hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke, TIA (mini stroke)

  • 70 percent of eligible patients receive tPA (clot busting drug) within 60 minutes of arrival; National 58 percent.

  • 19 percent of ischemic stroke patients receive tPA (clot busting drug); National 13 percent.

  • Door to needle (clot busting drug) time (median) = 50 minutes; National 57 minutes.

  • 1 percent serious complications in patients who received IV tPA (clot busting drug); National 5 percent.

As the regional leader in stroke treatment, Sparrow provides varied options. Our Physicians are the most skilled in the region and offer the latest specialized treatments to care for brain disorders.

Sparrow’s dedicated team of specialists use state-of-the-art techniques to treat strokes, from clot-busting drugs to innovative practices to save as much brain function as possible.

Sparrow and Michigan State University formed the region’s first comprehensive stroke treatment program and continue to work closely together in stroke care.

The hospital has a unit specifically dedicated to stroke victims, ensuring them faster, more comprehensive treatment by Physicians and Nurses with expertise in stroke care.