Why Having 24/7 Access to Advanced Stroke Care Matters

Ask the Experts

Michael Guido Michael Guido lll, MD
Director, Stony Brook Neurology Stroke Program

Co-Director, Stony Brook University
Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center
Fiorella David Fiorella, MD, PhD
Neurointerventional Radiologist
Director, Stony Brook Cerebrovascular Center
Co-Director, Stony Brook University
Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center

Recently, Stony Brook University Hospital became the first hospital in Suffolk County to achieve advanced, Comprehensive Stroke Center certification by The Joint Commission, the nation’s largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. This is the highest level a stroke center can achieve. Dr. Michael Guido and Dr. David Fiorella, co-directors of the Stony Brook University Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center explain why having a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in your community matters.

What does this certification mean?
Dr. Fiorella:
Some strokes are more complex than others. And stroke survivors have the best outcomes when they receive treatment fast. The advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center certification indicates Stony Brook’s ability to receive and treat even the most complex stroke cases around the clock and provide a level of care that can lead to the best possible outcomes for stroke patients. While we hope that you or someone you love never experiences a stroke, this is important to keep in mind when you call 911 at the first signs of a suspected stroke. After alerting the operator that you are having symptoms of a stroke, ask to be taken to a stroke center where advanced treatments are available. Otherwise, if you’re taken to a hospital that is not equipped to handle the complexity of your stroke, precious time may be lost as you await transfer to an advanced stroke center that is prepared 24/7 to provide lifesaving treatment. When you have a stroke and the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, brain cells die. So knowing when the first symptoms appeared is valuable information for your care team.

How hard is it to achieve comprehensive stroke center certification?
Dr. Guido:
It involves a rigorous screening process. To be eligible, a hospital must first demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards. Our center had been a New York State Department of Health designated Stroke Center since 2005 and a Joint Commission-certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center since 2004. The advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center certification goes well beyond either. Approximately only 200 hospitals out of 5,800 across the nation have earned this advanced certification.

What else is advanced about a comprehensive stroke center?
Dr. Fiorella:
Our expertise includes every FDA-approved minimally invasive stroke intervention technique. We also use the latest diagnostic tools. We have the proven ability to treat patients with a complex large ischemic stroke (when a clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain), intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding within the brain tissue) and subarachnoid brain hemorrhage (brain aneurysm). We provide advanced imaging capabilities; specialists trained in vascular neurology, neurosurgery and endovascular procedures; as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy every day of the week. Follow up with patients on their outpatient care, community education outreach and programs to maximize positive outcomes of our stroke patients set us apart as well.

What about clinical trials?
Dr. Fiorella:
As part of an academic medical center, our Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center is also home to active clinical trials. We participate in virtually all of the major cerebrovascular clinical trials that are currently underway in the US. As a result, our patients have access to all of the newest devices and procedures as more and more advanced minimally invasive technologies become available.

I’ve survived a stroke. Now what?
Dr. Guido:
For the thousands of Long Islanders who do survive a stroke, Stony Brook’s Stroke Support Group can help. You’ll receive encouragement and feedback from others who can relate to your situation; gain more knowledge from expert speakers; and learn about many programs and resources that can help.

Last Tuesday of every month
7 to 9 pm
Second Friday of every month
10:30 am to noon

Open to all stroke survivors, family members and caregivers. Receive encouragement, feedback and inspiration. Gain knowledge. Learn about helpful programs and resources. 

For locations and other information, contact: (631) 638-2638
stonybrookmedicine.edu/patientcare/support groups

To schedule an appointment with a neurologist, call (631) 444-2599. To schedule an appointment with a neurosurgeon, call (631) 444-1213. neuro.stonybrookmedicine.edu/cvsc

All health and health-related information contained in this article is intended to be general and/or educational in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional for help, diagnosis, guidance, and treatment. The information is intended to offer only general information for individuals to discuss with their healthcare provider. It is not intended to constitute a medical diagnosis or treatment or endorsement of any particular test, treatment, procedure, service, etc. Reliance on information provided is at the user's risk. Your healthcare provider should be consulted regarding matters concerning the medical condition, treatment, and needs of you and your family. Stony Brook University/SUNY is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.