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Hospital of Central Connecticut Certified as Primary Stroke Center

New Britain [March 17 2009] - A national healthcare quality organization has awarded The Hospital of Central Connecticut advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center.
The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Center certification means the hospital’s stroke program follows national standards and guidelines that will significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients.
“With stroke, it’s imperative to begin treatment as soon as possible to limit brain damage,” said Kristen Hickey, HCC’s Stroke Program coordinator. “This Primary Stroke Center designation means Central Connecticut residents have access to immediate, expert care, close to home.”
The Hospital of Central Connecticut provides a variety of emergency stroke treatments at its New Britain General and Bradley Memorial campuses, including minimally invasive procedures to eliminate clots and clot-busting medications. Medications include tPA, a drug shown to significantly reduce long-term disability if given within three hours of the stroke.
The Joint Commission’s certification is based on recommendations published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission awarded certification after conducting a thorough, two-day review of the Stroke Program in January.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut has also been designated a Primary Stroke Center by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. This dual certification recognizes the hospital’s expertise and excellence in the care of stroke patients.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel becomes blocked by a clot or bursts, interrupting blood flow to the brain. Deprived of oxygen and nutrients, the brain begins to die, resulting in disability or death.
The American Stroke Association estimates that about 780,000 Americans annually suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Stroke kills more than 150,000 people a year, making it the No. 3 cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer.
HCC’s Stroke Center treats patients who have had strokes and TIAs (transient ischemic attacks). TIAs produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage; about 20 percent of patients who have a TIA will have a stroke within a month.
The center also provides education for hospital inpatients and the community on preventing strokes by identifying risk factors, including smoking and conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart and artery disease, as well as age (people over 55 are at higher risk), family history of stroke, gender (strokes are more common among men) and prior stroke, heart attack or TIA.
In addition, the hospital’s Stroke Center educates the community and hospital inpatients on identifying stroke symptoms, which include numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg (especially on one side of the body); sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing; sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.
The Stroke Center also coordinates rehabilitation services for stroke patients; and works with community agencies and facilities to ensure continuity of care.
For information on stroke prevention and treatment, call the hospital’s stroke coordinator, (860) 224-5900, X6764.
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit agency that seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations.

Contact: Nancy Martin, 860-224-5900, ext. 4366

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779