In a July 18 press release, the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville announced that the stroke center in the clinic was designated and certified by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This follows the center’s 2004 certification as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.
Dr. James Meschia is a neurologist and the medical director of the stroke center. In the press release he said: “This certification, along with our certification from the Joint Commission, is continued recognition of our commitment to provide the best and latest care for stroke patients. Part of what distinguishes a comprehensive stroke center from other facilities is its diagnostic capabilities and advanced treatments for routine brain attacks as well as complex stroke cases.”
There is no doubt Mayo’s stroke center is a leader in the field in brain diagnostics and treatment. Mayo was the first to test and use what is called the Watchman device. In simple, non-medical terms, the Watchman is a device that prevents strokes by filtering blood clots that could travel and cause a stroke.
Since 2004, says the press release, Mayo’s use of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an emergency clot busting drug, has increased 500 percent. According to the American Heart Association, tPA can dissolve stroke-causing blood clots if administered within a short time, usually within three hours of the onset of symptoms. The press release credits Mayo Clinic’s emergency room medical staff with prompt diagnosis of stroke patients and timely administration of tPA for the large increase in the use of the drug. What makes this significant is that, according to the American Heart Association, administering tPA is done through an IV in the patient’s arm and is said to be a “complex” procedure. But when a prompt diagnosis is made and tPA is administered, the debilitating effects of stroke can be greatly reduced.
In February, Mayo opened an Intensive Care Unit, called NeuroICU, specializing in critical neurological care involving serious brain and nervous system injuries, including stroke.
In addition to doubling its interventional neuroradiology staff, the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic has hired Dr. Ricardo Hanel, a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon with impressive credentials. Dr. Hanel will specialize in a delicate procedure involving the placement of tiny wire coils into brain aneurysms and stents into clogged arteries in the brain.
The Jacksonville Mayo Clinic is currently located in St. Luke’s Hospital, but will move into the new Mayo Clinic Hospital when it opens in April 2008. The clinic’s stroke center will retain both certifications when it moves.
Press release, Mayo Clinic designated Comprehensive Stroke Center; http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2007-jax/4150.html
American Heart Association; http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4751