Sonoma Valley Hospital Receives Acute Stroke Ready Certification

Apr 29, 2019 | Sonoma Valley Hospital News

Sonoma Valley Hospital has received Acute Stroke Ready certification from the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ). Certification is given to hospitals that meet high standards of care for the initial treatment of stroke patients when quick action and proper medication can save lives and limit the long-term disabling effects of a stroke.

Stroke is the fifth major cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, which reports that someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds on average.

In treating strokes, time to care is critical. Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals provide care when people cannot quickly get to a primary stroke center because of distance or other factors. Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals are certified to provide immediate care for strokes, including life-saving medications, and then transport the patient to a primary or comprehensive stroke center.

“Stroke certification is part of our commitment to provide the highest quality of care to our community,” said Kelly Mather, CEO. “We know there is a short window of just a few hours that are critical in treating strokes, and patients who believe they have had a stroke can access that care in our Emergency Department at any time of the day or night.”

In earning certification as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital, SVH successfully completed an on-site evaluation by CIHQ and demonstrated compliance with national standards for assessing and providing effective care for stoke patients, including:

  • Having a dedicated stroke-focused program that follows American Heart Association/American Stroke Association protocols when facing a patient with possible stroke or stroke symptoms.
  • Providing care by medical professionals trained in stroke care.
  • Ensuring that a qualified practitioner assesses a suspected stroke patient within 15 minutes of arrival.
  • Providing diagnostic imaging and laboratory testing quickly to facilitate the administration of IV thrombolytics, such as tPA, in eligible patients. (Thrombolysis is used to dissolve blood clots, improve blood flow and prevent tissue and organ damage in stroke victims. It is most effective when given soon after the onset of symptoms.)
  • Ensuring that telemedicine is available; providing access to an experienced neurologist within 20 minutes of it being deemed necessary.
  • Ensuring that transfer protocols are in place to quickly move stroke patients to a Primary Stroke Center or Comprehensive Stroke Center when required.

As part of its stroke program, SVH works closely with UCSF Health neurologists who assist in quality oversight through a medical directorship and provide telemedicine consultation when needed to help diagnose and treat patients exhibiting stroke symptoms.

For more information about strokes and stroke symptoms, visit our website at