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Hoag at the Forefront of a New Era in Stroke Treatment

Stroke is one of the top five leading causes of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. but outcomes are far more hopeful at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag, which has invested in world-class expertise, cutting-edge technology and patient-centered rehabilitation. Another important factor in the successful treatment of stroke patients is time — the sooner patients seek care, the better we are able to help them.

People who come to Hoag with a stroke are surviving and even thriving in numbers that greatly exceed national benchmarks, thanks to our team that includes support from philanthropic community to keep stroke from devastating families.

One of those investments includes the addition of endovascular intra-arterial thrombectomy, the minimally invasive removal of a blood clot that threatens the brain. Hoag is one of the few hospitals in Southern California that offers this minimally invasive, catheter-based intervention, and the difference it has made to outcomes is remarkable.

Nationally, 10% of people who have a stroke recover completely, according to the National Stroke Association. At Hoag, 64% of patients with an acute stroke who receive TPA, and/or endovascular treatment after stroke are self-sufficient after 90 days. For Hoag patients who are only eligible for endovascular intervention, 46% are self-sufficient within three months, still a class-leading statistic.

“The types of strokes occurring in patients who are being rescued today used to be lethal in the majority of patients,” said Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., F.A.C.R., senior physician executive and the Ron & Sandi Simon Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag. “Hoag’s investment in state-of-the-art technology, top-tier interventional neuroradiologists and the philanthropic support of our community has saved lives and dramatically improved quality of life after stroke.”

These investments are partly the reason Hoag is the highest volume stroke center in Orange County and the second busiest in California, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

When interventional neuroradiologist Christopher B. Baker, M.D., joined Hoag in 2017, he expanded the endovascular team’s existing capacity for intra-arterial thrombectomy to the community. “For 20 years, the only treatment available for stroke was a drug that was 40% effective at restoring blood flow for some patients. For patients who qualify for thrombectomy, we can now successfully open the vessel 90% to 95% of the time,” Dr. Baker said. “We’ve been able to significantly improve the overall outcomes of these patients.”

He credits Hoag’s administration with the vision and commitment to dramatically improve patient lives.

“For a program to be successful, you need the interventional radiology nurses, the technologists, the medical staff, the neuro-interventionalists and the neurologists working as a team to help manage the patient,” Dr. Baker said. “The vision of the hospital makes it possible for programs like ours to exist. It’s one of the best hospitals around anywhere.”

Dr. Baker also pointed to the hospital’s commitment to recovery, not just survival. In 2018, Hoag opened the world-class Fudge Family Acute Rehabilitation Center to serve adults who are recovering from neurological and orthopedic issues, including stroke. Hospital co-located acute rehabilitation centers are rare in Orange County, and Hoag’s center allows for a more comprehensive continuity of care.

Hoag Stroke Program has been recognized nationally for its high-quality care, earning the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get with The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for nine straight years and the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite for two years. Hoag is certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and Hoag Irvine is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by DNV GL Healthcare USA, Inc.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to minimize the impact stroke has on patients and families,” Dr. Baker said.

Hoag’s commitment to advanced patient care has remained strong in the face of COVID-19 and we continue to place the safety of patients at the forefront. Delaying care for fear of viral infection when stroke symptoms appear is much more dangerous than the low risk of infection at the hospital.

For more information, call 888-325-0068.