Sentara Norfolk General Hospital recently earned certification from DNV GL - Healthcare as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, reflecting the highest level of competence for treatment of serious stroke events. Only six stroke centers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and approximately 200 across the country hold this top designation.

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital earns Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Image News Item Square Image News Item Square Image News Item Square

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital recently earned certification from DNV GL - Healthcare as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, reflecting the highest level of competence for treatment of serious stroke events. Only six stroke centers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and approximately 200 across the country hold this top designation.

Sentara has a strong commitment to stroke care that spans our integrated healthcare system. For example, in 2018 across all Sentara hospitals, our providers have achieved a door to needle time in less than 60 minutes for the administration of brain clot busting drug intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for 94.1 percent of stroke patients, which exceeds the 85.7 average of all Virginia hospitals. The 60 minute administration is a threshold set by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. There is also a 45 minute threshold in which hospitals can earn the highest Target: Stroke Honor Rolls award by meeting that target for 50 percent of patients. Sentara has well surpassed that target at 68.8 percent of stroke patients, which also exceeds the national average of Virginia hospitals at 56.9 percent.  

“Sentara Norfolk General Hospital has always been committed to and capable of providing comprehensive stroke care of the highest quality for our communities, and we are proud to continue to do so,” said Carolyn Carpenter, President of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. “Our multidisciplinary team of specialists work tirelessly to ensure we offer the personnel, infrastructure and expertise to diagnose, treat and support stroke patients who require highly intensive medical and surgical care, specialized tests or interventional therapies. This certification validates all the effort we have put into this program and to ensuring the health and safety of our patients.”

The DNV GL - Healthcare Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification is based on standards set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association, and affirms that the program addresses the full spectrum of stroke care – diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and education – and establishes clear metrics to evaluate outcomes. 

“This designation is a direct reflection of the long standing breadth and depth of the Sentara Stroke Program capabilities,” said Dr. Alexander Grunsfeld, Medical Director of Neurosciences for Sentara Healthcare, and Co-Medical Director of the Sentara Healthcare Stroke Program. “Our team has been, and will continue to be, dedicated to educating our communities about the risks and warning signs of stroke, as well as providing the most extensive stroke care possible.”

The Sentara Stroke Program has been accomplished through a productive partnership between Sentara and Medical Center Radiologists, the largest radiology practice in Southeast Virginia.

“Receiving this certification comes after a decade-long collaboration to provide the most innovative and comprehensive ischemic stroke care for the Hampton Roads community,” said Dr. John Agola, Radiologist at Medical Center Radiologists, Chief of Southside Neurointerventional Services and Co-Medical Director of the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Stroke Program. "Neurointerventional services have been an ongoing passion project and partnership since 1992. We have always aspired to practice at the forefront of clinical innovation and excellence. We are proud of, and remain committed to constantly driving higher levels of stroke care quality.”

The Sentara Stroke Program at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team including a dedicated stroke coordinator and stroke medical director, as well as a wide array of specialists including neurointerventionalists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, intensivists as well as nurses. The hospital offers patients the most comprehensive and highest quality of stroke care with an Interventional Radiology Suite to perform advanced neurovascular procedures as well as a Neuro Intensive Care unit and Intermediate Care stroke unit.

“The robust multidisciplinary team of providers in the Sentara Stroke Program is a critical asset for our community” said Dr. Wilson P. Daugherty, Neurosurgeon, Sentara Healthcare. “Importantly, our exceptional group of neurointerventionalists offer imaging assessment and endovascular treatment options for our patients, which essentially enable us to perform surgical procedures without actually making a surgical incision. This minimally invasive approach creates the safest treatment options possible for our stroke patients.” 

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is one of 11 Sentara hospitals and two free standing emergency departments that have received stroke center certification. They are as follows with designations in order of increasing complexity: 

Acute Stroke Ready

These facilities demonstrate excellence by complying with standards of care for the initial treatment of stroke patients with rapid action and proper medications that save lives and limit the long-term disabling effects of strokes. The following Sentara free standing emergency departments have the infrastructure, capability, staff and resources to diagnose, stabilize, treat and ultimately transfer patients suffering from acute stroke:

  • Sentara BelleHarbour
  • Sentara Independence

 Primary Stroke Center

The Primary Stroke Center certification reflects a commitment to deploying a disciplined management system, combined with the relevant clinical best practices, for excellent stroke care. The certification integrates certain requirements of the DNV NIAHO® Hospital Accreditation Program, CMS Conditions of Participation for Hospitals, ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, Guidelines of the Brain Attack Coalition, and the Recommendations of the American Stroke Association. The following Sentara hospitals are certified as Primary Stroke Centers:

  • Sentara Albemarle Medical Center
  • Sentara CarePlex Hospital
  • Sentara Leigh Hospital
  • Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
  • Sentara Obici Hospital
  • Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
  • Sentara RMH Medical Center
  • Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
  • Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center

 Primary Plus Stroke Center

The Primary Plus Stroke Center certification is reserved for hospitals that have the all of the capabilities of a Primary Stroke Center, with the additional capability to perform thrombectomies and post care for the treatment of acute ischemic strokes. The first Sentara hospital to achieve this designation is:

  • Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital

Comprehensive Stroke Center

Comprehensive Stroke Centers are typically the largest and best-equipped hospitals in a given geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication. In a growing number of states, stroke center certification determines to which facility a patient should be taken for the most appropriate, reimbursable care. The following Sentara hospital is certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center:

  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital

Sentara is committed to raising awareness and educating the communities we serve about the signs and risk factors of stroke. To learn more about stroke treatment at Sentara Healthcare, visit www.sentara.com/stroke.

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is a large 525-bed medical center and one of just five Level 1 trauma centers in Virginia. It is the region’s first Magnet® hospital and home to the Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance and nationally ranked Sentara Heart Hospital. Additionally, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is the first hospital in Hampton Roads to offer an iMRI machine, which is new MRI technology that provides high resolution real-time imaging during surgical procedures, especially brain surgery to remove tumors, with dedicated advanced neurosurgery imaging and guidance applications. This allows for more precise removal of tumors, which helps to ensure optimal outcomes, minimizes residual functional brain damage and reduces revision surgeries. Sentara Norfolk General Hospital ranks among the nation’s Top 50 in the U.S. News and World Report annual “Best Hospitals” edition. Additionally, it ranks No. 1 in Hampton Roads, and No. 3 in Virginia.