SwedishAmerican & UW Health Telestroke Network Pass Milestone

SwedishAmerican & UW Health Telestroke Network Pass Milestone of Treating 1,000th Patient


            SwedishAmerican and UW Health are marking Stroke Awareness Month by passing the milestone of treating its 1,000th patient through the Wisconsin Telestroke Network. About 700,000 people have ischemic strokes in the United States, those who aren’t treated quickly can die or have permanent brain damage.

Patients who have stroke symptoms and are brought to SwedishAmerican Hospital or SwedishAmerican Medical Center/Belvidere are able to have immediate access to the stroke neurologists at the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center. Through SwedishAmerican’s affiliation with UW Health, this allows for quick assessment and response to the medical emergency of stroke. Time is of the essence with stroke because brain cells are lost at the rate of 1.9 million neurons per minute when a stroke cuts off blow flow. The clot-busting drug, tPA can only be administered three hours of the stroke’s onset and in rare cases, four and a half hours.

Through a video system, Telestroke enables a UW stroke neurologist to directly interview patients and family members when a stroke is suspected. Computed Tomography (CT) scans are also viewable and a treatment plan recommendation is directly communicated to emergency room physicians and nurses so that care can begin immediately. Everyone in the room can see and hear the stroke neurologist during the Telestroke process.

“SwedishAmerican has a very seamless process down with our stroke neurologists at UW Health. By providing immediate assistance to suspected stroke patients, emergency room personnel are supported in a situation when time is critical. This extra level of stroke-specific knowledge enhances patient safety and facilitates treatments that lead to better outcomes,” says SwedishAmerican Stroke Center Medical Director Dr. Daniel Hutchens. “Our team works quickly with UW Health’s team to ensure the patient receives the best treatment plan possible based on his/her case. We are proud to work with UW Health and thrilled to have hit the milestone of treating our 1,000th telestroke patient.”

UW Hospital is one of the first certified comprehensive stroke centers in the country. The Joint Commission, which provides the certification, maintains strict standards for every step of a stroke patient’s care, from first radio contact with the ambulance crew through the emergency department, imaging, neurology, neurosurgery, hospital care, and rehabilitation. To meet the “comprehensive” standard, the hospital proved it was ready 24/7 to treat multiple complex stroke cases at the same time.

“We are so pleased to be able to extend the care of the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center to people in northern Illinois,’’ says Dr. Natalie Wheeler, incoming medical director of the UW telestroke program. “This is truly the ‘Wisconsin Idea’ in action. We work with our community-hospital colleagues to ensure that every patient gets the right care in the right place at the right time.”

SwedishAmerican is ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation for treatment of stroke by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization. In addition, SwedishAmerican is a Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center and UW Health is a Joint Commission Comprehensive Center,  meeting the highest standards in quality and safety for recognizing and treating strokes.



About SwedishAmerican

A division of UW Health, SwedishAmerican is dedicated to providing excellence in healthcare and compassionate care to the community. The organization serves residents of 12 counties in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin through a dedicated and caring staff, a major acute care hospital and a free-standing outpatient cancer center in Rockford, a medical center in Belvidere, a network of 30 primary care and multi-specialty clinics and the region’s largest home healthcare agency. Additionally, SwedishAmerican has achieved Magnet® recognition as a reflection of its nursing professionalism, teamwork and superiority in patient care.