NHRMC Offers 24/7 Access to Interventional Stroke Treatment

February 21, 2018

WILMINGTON, NC – New Hanover Regional Medical Center has expanded its Endovascular Stroke Program to ensure patients do not have to leave the area to get treatment.

NHRMC now offers 24/7 neuro-interventional coverage to treat patients suffering from stroke and other cerebrovascular emergencies. Dr. Jeffrey Beecher has joined the NHRMC Medical Staff and is partnering with Dr. Vinodh Doss to allow for round-the-clock interventional stroke care, decreasing the time to treatment and improving patient outcomes. Dr. Doss brought this capability to NHRMC a year ago, but the recent addition of Dr. Beecher will provide 24/7 coverage.

 “I think from a community standpoint it’s a big deal,” said Dr. James McKinney, medical director of NHRMC’s Stroke Program. “We’re able to provide this critical treatment to our stroke patients regardless of time of day. Historically we had to transfer some patients at least two hours away for this treatment.”

Southeastern North Carolina lies within the stroke belt, a part of the country with elevated stroke rates. Stroke is a leading cause of disability and death in our region. NHRMC admitted about 1,200 stroke patients last year.

Dr. Beecher’s and Dr. Doss’ expertise also enables NHRMC to provide additional treatment options for patients with other cerebrovascular conditions such as aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations. NHRMC is treating aneurysms with clipping and coiling procedures, which have not been performed at the facility in over a decade. 

Having the ability to treat aneurysms locally means patients who present at NHRMC or one of our regional partner hospitals do not have to leave the area for advanced care, McKinney said. NHRMC is educating hospitals in the region of the new capabilities.

NHRMC has also implemented new nationwide stroke guidelines for clot-removal treatments.

The latest guidelines from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association extended the treatment window for when doctors can perform a thrombectomy, the procedure to remove a blood clot.

The new guidelines are based on recent research that shows some patients will benefit from removal of a clot blocking blood flow to the brain up to 24 hours after the start of the stroke. Under previous guidelines, doctors had only about a six-hour window to remove the clot. When clots block blood flow, brain cells die due to lack of oxygen, which limits the brain’s the ability to control functions such as movement, speech or vision.

As part of the study, researchers compared outcomes for stroke patients who received standard medical therapy or standard therapy with endovascular thrombectomy. The results showed those who had the thrombectomy were more likely to survive and had better outcomes than those who did not have the procedure.

NHRMC has received The DNV Certification for Primary Stroke Centers and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, the highest quality status awarded by the AHA/ASA.

For more information on the NHRMC Stroke Program visit www.nhrmc.org/stroke.