Orlando Regional Medical Center continues advances in stroke care services, receives state designation as comprehensive stroke program

Learn how UF Health Neurosurgery is improving stroke care services.


Sabrina Childress

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 6, 2013) — Expanding its scope of stroke care to provide higher level treatment and advanced surgical options, Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) received designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

For Central Florida communities, the designation means more immediate access to advanced stroke interventions to treat the nation’s No. 4 cause of death and a leading case of disability. A stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the United States, impacting 795,000 each year with a new or recurrent stroke. For each minute during a stroke, the brain loses approximately 1.9 million brain cells (neurons).

“When a stroke occurs, timely medical attention is critical,” said Daniel Jacobs, MD, neurologist and director, Stroke Services, Orlando Health. “Not only can a broader spectrum of treatment options help save more lives, it also aids in preventing permanent disability and preserving the highest quality of life for patients who are recovering from a stroke.”

The widened range of stroke care is made possible in part by the recently established practice – UF Health Neurosurgery — Orlando Health, a affiliation between Orlando Health and the University of Florida department of neurosurgery. Distinctive medical specialties offered at the practice add to the expertise of ORMC’s stroke team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointensivists, nurses, other specialists and supporting staff.

“Until recently, we were limited to offering purely intravenous based therapies such as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) to dissolve or breakup the clot blocking the blood vessels that led to a stroke,” said Samuel Tsappidi, MD, an interventional neurologist at the practice. “Now we are able to deliver advanced interventions and medical therapies for more complex and severe types of stroke in a timely manner.”

More progressive surgical options can improve patient access to higher level stroke care and improve patient outcomes in survival and recovery from stroke.

“In some cases, the options widen the treatment window which increases the opportunity to provide advanced care to more patients,” said UF neurosurgeon William A. Friedman, MD, chairman of neurosurgery and the director of the Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy at UF. “For example, there are innovative approaches to remove clots, techniques to unblock or widen narrowed or hardened arteries, and procedures to seal ruptured vessels, putting a stop to abnormal blood flow that caused the stroke.”

State designation requirements include having the following: specialists with expertise in endovascular neurointerventional procedures; neurosurgeons, neurologists and a stroke team available at all times; emergency medicine doctors and nurses trained in the care of stroke patients; advanced diagnostic capabilities; advanced nurse practitioners; specialized patient care units; and a quality improvement and clinical outcomes management program. Participation in research is also required.

Beyond the emergent care that patients receive from the multidisciplinary team, patients can later be admitted to Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute’s inpatient stroke rehabilitation program (accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) which includes specially trained speech and language pathologists, along with occupational and physical therapists.

ORMC’s designation also means a direct connection to high level stroke care for patients at Orlando Health’s community hospitals – Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, Health Central, South Lake and South Seminole Hospital. For example, using telemedicine technology doctors are able to remotely evaluate and determine immediate treatment at the participating community hospitals or transfer appropriate patients to ORMC for surgical and endovascular interventions.

“While achieving state designation is a significant milestone in our stroke program, more importantly it means bringing the latest treatment options to patients, towards providing the best possible outcomes,” said Carlos Carrasco, chief operating officer, ORMC.


About Orlando Health

Orlando Health is a $1.9 billion not-for-profit health care organization and a community-based network of physician practices, hospitals and care centers throughout Central Florida. Physician Associates, one of the largest multi-specialty practices in central Florida, consisting of more than 90 physicians in more than 20 locations, became a member of the Orlando Health family in January, 2013.

The organization, which includes the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. They are: Orlando Regional Medical Center; Dr. P. Phillips Hospital; South Seminole Hospital; Health Central Hospital, South Lake Hospital (50 percent affiliation); St. Cloud Regional Medical Center (20 percent affiliation), MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando – the first affiliate of one of the nation’s premier cancer centers, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center, which consists of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Orlando Health’s areas of clinical excellence are heart and vascular, cancer care, neurosciences, surgery, pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine, neonatology, and women’s health.

Orlando Health is one of Central Florida’s largest employers with nearly 16,000 employees and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians supporting our philosophy of providing high quality care and service that revolves around patients’ needs. We prove this everyday with over 110,000 inpatient admissions and nearly 690,000 outpatient visits each year. In all, Orlando Health serves 1.6 million Central Florida residents and nearly 3,000 international patients annually. Additionally, Orlando Health provides approximately $239 million in support of community health needs. More information can be found at www.orlandohealth.com.

November 17, 2013, in Health