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Stroke Center

World-Class Stroke Care Available at Lee Memorial Health System

World-Class Stroke Care Available at Lee Memorial Health System
“Lee Memorial Health System sees approximately 1,700 strokes a year, so it is vitally important that we have the right care available. ”

When it comes to stroke diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, time is of the essence and the faster, the better. To ensure the fastest and most effective treatment for stroke patients in Southwest Florida, Lee Memorial Health System hospitals have worked diligently to incorporate up-to-date, research-based protocols. In fact, Cape Coral Hospital and Lee Memorial Hospital are designated as Primary Stroke Centers, while Gulf Coast Medical Center recently received Comprehensive Stroke Center designation.

“There is a high prevalence of strokes in our community,” says Josh DeTillio, chief administrative officer of Gulf Coast Medical Center. “Lee Memorial Health System sees approximately 1,700 strokes a year, so it is vitally important that we have the right care available. The introduction of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at Gulf Coast Medical Center means that our community has 24/7, year-round access to neurointerventional services and care, which includes lifesaving procedures like stents and coiling for brain aneurysms and strokes.”

Josh explains that the stroke centers are a hub-and-spoke system, meaning that the Primary Stroke Centers are the first line for stroke patients and the Comprehensive Stroke Center is available for the most serious cases, including patients needing neurointerventional procedures. Gulf Coast Medical Center will still treat all stroke patients, while also accepting transfers from the other Primary Stroke Centers.

In addition to gaining Comprehensive Stroke Center designation, Gulf Coast Medical Center has worked diligently to incorporate national best practices to improve door-to-needle times, which is the interval between patients’ arrival to the hospital and the start of treatment.

“Using LEAN process improvement, which is a step-by-step review of the process, we created efficiencies and eliminated extra/unnecessary steps,” Josh says. “The national standard is 60 minutes door-to-needle, and the best stroke centers in the nation average 30-40 minutes. Gulf Coast Medical Center is right there with the best—averaging 30-35 minutes. Cape Coral Hospital, Lee Memorial Hospital and HealthPark Medical Center are well within the national standard, but we are rolling out the process improvements to the other campuses, too, so all patients have access to the most efficient care. We are very proud that we have world-class stroke care right here in Southwest Florida.”

Josh adds that HealthPark Medical Center will officially earn Primary Stroke Center designation this fall/winter.

“Prior to TAVR, patients are usually very weak, struggling to move between rooms in their homes,” Dr. Hummel says. “But, after TAVR, they are able to enjoy life again and get back to the things they want to do; and many report feeling 10 or 20 years younger.”

What are the Differences Between a Stroke Center and a Comprehensive Stroke Center?

Primary Stroke Centers

  • Takes care of most cases of ischemic—blood vessel blockage—types of stroke.
  • Minimally invasive catheter procedures are not required.
  • No requirement for a separate intensive care unit for stroke patients.
  • Access to neurosurgery within 2 hours.
  • Sends complex patients to a Comprehensive Stroke Center

Comprehensive Stroke Center

  • Cares for all types of stroke patients, including bleeding—or hemorrhagic— strokes, such as those caused by brain aneurysms.
  • 24/7 access to minimally invasive catheter procedures to treat stroke.
  • Dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit for stroke patients.
  • On-site neurological availability 24/7 with the ability to perform complex procedures.
  • Receives patients from Primary Stroke Centers.


Cape Coral Hospital a Stroke Destination

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