Although 2021 may feel like 2020 with bangs, the year was more eventful than you may remember. Here are a few things you may have forgotten (or missed entirely):

  • COVID-19 vaccines hit the market worldwide
  • First female and woman of color U.S. Vice President
  • Winter Storms in Texas
  • Infamous COVID Variants Delta & Omicron emerged
  • Giant panda was removed from the endangered list
  • Jeff & Elon compete to be the first to start space tourism
  • Simone Biles withdraws from the women's team in the Tokyo Olympics
  • Britney spears released from her conservatorship.

As 2021 winds down, the stroke program would like to reflect on some of the greatest successes of the year.
Eligibility Expansion (Extended Window) for IV Alteplase
After almost an entire year of planning & preparation, the Eligibility Expansion Protocol for IV Alteplase finally went live in November of this year. This new protocol allows for certain stroke patients, who would have otherwise been excluded from receiving life-saving stroke treatment, to receive IV alteplase. The goal behind this project is to make a large impact for a small group of our patients. For more information, click here.
Tiered Stroke Activation System
2021 was also the year of doing more with less. Knowing that the ASRT nursing team was often splitting their time between multiple simultaneous stroke and rapid response activations, the Tiered Stroke Activation System was implemented in January. The primary goal of this project was to improve staffing efficiency during lower risk stroke activations. For more information, click here.
The Joint Commission CSC Survey
July 28th - 30th... TJC Comprehensive Stroke Center Recertification Survey

September 27th... Submitted final changes and justifications for Requirement for Improvements (RFIs) cited during survey

  • Click here, for more information on changes made to meet the cited RFIs,

October 25th... Notification received that the TUKHS Stroke Program was RECERTIFIED as a Comprehensive Stroke Center for the 5th time since 2012!
Program Data Evolution
Our monthly newsletter now links to our new dashboards which are located on our website. Here you can view the most recent data related to stroke and intervention volumes as well as median times. Our website has more content than ever and serves as a great source of information for team members. Our newsletter is now approaching 2 years old and this year it has racked up some interesting factoids:

  • In 2021, we sent a total of 5,348 emails
  • Our avg. open rate (when someone opens an email) was 57% vs. the industry avg. of 18.6%
  • Our avg. click rate (when someone clicks a link) was 23% vs. the industry avg. of 0.9%
  • The best time to send out the newsletter is 7:00 P.M.
  • The majority of readers prefer to use their desktop 49% vs. their mobile 25%.
Outreach Influence Continues to Expand
SCRN Review Course Takes on the Virtual Format

This year, our Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) Review Course has continued to reach Stroke Nurses throughout the nation to prepare them for taking their SCRN Exam. The 8-hour course was taught 3 times this year by our TUKHS Stroke Program and has reached 254 learners. The majority of RNs who joined were from the Midwest, but others came to us from states as far as Maine and Arizona!

Acute Stroke Response Team Simulation in ZIEL

Since 2019, our Stroke Program has been creating a multi-disciplinary acute stroke response team simulation. This time-intensive project went live with the simulation pilot on August 26, 2021! To this point, 11 Neurology Residents, 10 CA5 ICU RNs and 4 Neuro IR RNs have attended. There are 10 more sessions to come in 2022!
C3FIT Is Here and We Are Enrolling!
Dr. Lechtenberg and Alissa Poitras, APRN are now enrolling patients for our study of Coordinated, Collaborative, Comprehensive, Family-based, Integrated, Technology-enabled Stroke Care. Enrolled patients will receive thorough follow up care virtually or in their homes on a monthly basis with an APP and lay-health educator to monitor health measures, post stroke goals and outcomes, assist with caregiver and community resources, and review modifiable behaviors for secondary stroke prevention. Patients admitted within 7 days of qualifying stroke (intracerebral hemorrhage or ischemic stroke) with a pre-event mRS of 0-1, not enrolled in other trials should be referred to Dr. Lechtenberg or Alissa Poitras for screening. 
Monthly Spotlight
Husitha R Vanguru, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology

How long have you been in this role?
For 5 months now, started in July, 2021 after vascular neurology fellowship.

What does a typical day look like for you?
On any typical day as a stroke neurologist, I try to answer two questions while evaluating stroke patients. What can we do to reverse and/or stop ongoing damage from brain stroke among patients presenting to TUKHC ER or developing stroke while in hospital or external hospitals calling through transfer center. This includes determining eligibility for acute stroke therapies including tPA and/or thrombectomy. After acute phase, the next question we try to answer while rounding on inpatients is - why did stroke happen, thereby make a plan for secondary prevention and prevent stroke recurrence.

What is the most rewarding and challenging part of your role?
The most rewarding aspect would be seeing patients recover from disabling deficits with the therapies that we now offer for acute strokes, like seeing someone go home to family or short term rehab instead of becoming bedridden. Challenging aspect would be - trying to be right every time we make a decision. These aspects have attracted me towards vascular neurology right from the beginning of my neurology residency. 

Three words to best describe you:
Kind, inquisitive, amiable.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Being interrupted while watching a movie

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Breakfast - Guac toast with eggs.
Links Land
Stroke Treatment Again Receives Recognitions
Kansas City, Kan. — The University of Kansas Health System’s stroke program continues to receive high marks from the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. These achievements recognize the health system’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate and efficient treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines.

The Joint Commission recertifies stroke programs every 2 years. The health system’s stroke program initially achieved Comprehensive Stroke Center status in 2012 and was 1 of the first 5 stroke programs designated as such in the country. This fall, the program was recertified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission...
Join us via Zoom for our monthly Kansas Initiative for Stroke Survival (KISS) First Tuesday’s Stroke Education Series. Each month at 12:00 PM, Vascular Neurologist, Dr. Sabreena Slavin will give a 30 - minute presentation regarding stroke and the care surrounding it.
Case of the Month

The significant other of one of our patients' called 911 after finding them at home with stroke like symptoms. Soon after, EMS picked the patient up and arrived at TUKHS only 49 minutes after their LKW. Upon arrival the patient's NIHSS was 23. IV alteplase was promptly given 17 minutes after patient arrival which was followed by thrombectomy treatment. Door to first pass time was 67 minutes. After treatment, the patient's NIHSS went down to 2 with a post TICI score of 3!
The Fast & the Furious!
Congratulations to the team members who achieved the below fastest intervention times!!!
Your opinions matter! Please complete the BE FAST Survey and share your recent experience with a stroke intervention and/or activation. To provide other general feedback please email us.
This Month's Quiz!
And the Winner is...
Congratulations to Kristen Henry for winning the November's Quiz $10 coffee gift card drawing!! Chaeli Stenuf will be in contact with the winner for more info on how to retrieve their prize.

Question: A Tier 2 stroke activation can be called for ____ & should be activated to _____.

Answer: Transfer strokes unlikely to qualify for acute intervention; ED Hall 72.
DON'T FORGET, every month, everyone who correctly answers the quiz question will be entered in a drawing to win a $10 coffee shop gift card! Seems like an easy way to stay caffeinated during those particularly exhausting shifts.
"Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda