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The Comprehensive Stroke Center at the UNC Medical Center is a multi-specialty clinical and research program that incorporates state-of-the-art approaches in caring for patients with stroke or other vascular disorders of the brain. Its mission is to serve the citizens of North Carolina by providing high-quality comprehensive stroke care, educating patients and health care providers, and conducting cutting-edge research in stroke care and prevention.

The UNC Comprehensive Stroke Center’s multi-specialty care approach utilizes the expertise of a large group of physicians and staff with specialty training in the treatment of stroke. Stroke patient care is coordinated by a team of vascular neurologists and neuro-intensivists who work closely with emergency medicine physicians, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionalists, neuroradiologists, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, physiatrists, neuro-trained nurses, and stroke ancillary care specialists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, care managers, and social workers).

Acute stroke care is available 24/7/365 and is provided to medically-eligible patients by an on-call acute stroke team. The team evaluates patients for acute treatments, such as intravenous thrombolysis, catheter-based interventional procedures, and surgical treatments. The team also screens patients for inclusion in clinical studies and trials of the latest experimental stroke therapies.

Facilities and Nursing Care

Stroke-specific care units at the UNC Comprehensive Stroke Center include a 35-bed acute care floor (6NSH), an 22-bed intermediate care floor (ISCU) and the 18-bed Neuroscience ICU. Patient care is directed by specialty-specific stroke neurologists and coordinated by an experienced stroke center program manager, Nicole Burnett, RN, MSN, CNRN, SCRN, CCRN-K. All nurses caring for patients in the stroke center are required to participate in extensive stroke education on an annual basis.

Award-Winning Care

Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus Award 2021, American Heart AssociationThe UNC Medical Center has a strong track record of quality and excellence in stroke care and has maintained the Joint Commission Disease-Specific Certification as a Primary Stroke Center since its founding in 2004. In 2012, the UNC Medical Center became the first hospital in the Southeast to receive the Joint Commission Advanced Certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, confirming UNC Medical Center’s position as a national leader in stroke care.

In 2021, the UNC Comprehensive Stroke Center once again received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus Achievement Award along with the Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite and the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Advanced Therapy and the Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll awards.

Hospitals receiving the Gold Plus award must achieve 85% or higher compliance with all Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Achievement Measures and 75% or higher compliance with five or more Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Quality Measures for two or more consecutive years.

Joint Commission Logo - American Heart Associate and the American Stroke AssociationTo qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

Hospitals performing thrombectomy for ischemic stroke measuring Door-To-Device (DTD) times in at least 50% of applicable patients within 90 minutes for direct arriving and within 60 minutes for transfer qualify for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Advanced Therapy designation.

UNC Hospitals also received the Association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 % of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”