UConn Health Stroke Center Earns Gold Distinction as an Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center

The UConn Health Stroke Center has attained advanced certification by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center.  This means that the UConn Health Stroke Center provides the next generation of stroke care and has met The Joint Commission’s high standards in providing stroke care.

The Stroke Center team: Sanjay Mittal MD, Margaret Darin PA, Lyndsay Escajeda RN BSN, Jennifer Sposito RN MSN, Hanna Anctil RD, Nicholas Mulligan APRN, Christine Zaczynski SLP , nurse manager Patricia Hurley RN, BSN, Lisa Iwanicki RN, Sean Johnston RPh, and Gracia Mui MD on a hospital floor at UConn Health on April 13, 2021 (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

The UConn Health Stroke Center has attained advanced certification by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center.  This means that the UConn Health Stroke Center provides the next generation of stroke care and has met The Joint Commission’s high standards in providing stroke care.

“We are ecstatic to announce this news and are officially the first Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in the Hartford area and 1 of 4 hospitals in CT to reach the elite status above a Primary Stroke Center,” says Jennifer Sposito, R.N., M.S.N, stroke coordinator at the UConn Health Stroke Center.   “I am proud to be a member of this amazing team.”

A thrombectomy is a type of minimally invasive surgery that removes a blood clot from an artery. In the case of a stroke, a cerebral thrombectomy removes the clot from an artery in the brain.

The UConn Health Stroke Center underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with related certification standards.  Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“The growth and the development of our Stroke Center inspire us every day to continue achieving excellence for our patients,” says Sposito.  “We were thrilled for our patient care and Stroke Center efforts to be recognized by the surveyor who quoted ‘the excellence was palpable’, during our two-day Thrombectomy-Capable survey.”

UConn Health is the second Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in Connecticut and the first one in the Greater Hartford region.

“Certification as an Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center is further testament to the commitment of all involved in the management of stroke to providing state of the art care in a multidisciplinary personalized fashion,” says Ketan Bulsara, professor and chief, Neurosurgery at UConn Health. “It is a commitment of our stroke program to not only provide state of the art care currently but also actively shape the future of stroke management.”

In 2013, Dr. Sanjay Mittal was hired as the medical director of the Stroke Center who then brought in Jennifer Sposito, as the stroke coordinator in the summer of 2014. The first stroke alert took place in October of 2014.  In December of 2014, UConn Health became a Certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. Since that time, the Stroke Center has grown the team to include neurocritical care intensivists, neuro-interventionalist, neurosurgeons, vascular neurologists, and a stroke nurse navigator to round out a multidisciplinary team. The first thrombectomy procedure at UConn Health was performed in November 2017 by Bulsara. Bulsara and Dr. Abner Gershon neuro-interventionalist and professor of Radiology at UConn Health, perform the mechanical thrombectomies.

“The stroke program in many ways is the epitome of personalized collaborative care that UConn Health offers,” Mittal says. “It is a multidisciplinary team with one goal, to optimize patient outcome.”

“Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend UConn Health for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for stroke patients.”

“We congratulate UConn Health for this outstanding achievement,” says Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, the American Stroke Association. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for stroke patients.”

Know the signs of a stroke

Additional symptoms of stroke can include:

  • Numbness or weakness of face arm and/or leg
  • Acute vision changes
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Trouble in understanding simple statements
  • Confusion
  • Trouble in walking or maintaining balance
  • Sudden severe headache

Seek emergency care when you need it. UConn Health’s Emergency Department and its dedicated Stroke Center team are ready 24/7 to help you safely and promptly.