Valley Medical Center Receives American Heart and Stroke Association’s

Highest National Recognitions
for Stroke Treatment & Care

GWTG-2019Valley Medical Center is nationally recognized for achievement in stroke treatment. For multiple years, we have been the recipient of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.The award recognizes VMC’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

In addition to the Get with the Guidelines award, VMC has also been recognized as a recipient of the association's Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus, for improving stroke care. This Honor Roll designation is the AHA/ASA's highest distinction awarded for Valley's achievement in delivering tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, quickly upon arrival to the hospital (known as 'door-to-needle' time). Achievement of this award requires door-to-needle times within 45 minutes for at least 75 percent of applicable patients and door-to-needle times within 30 minutes for at least 50 percent of applicable patients. In calendar year 2020, 50 patients received Intra-arterial Catheter Based Reperfusion at VMC and 81 were treated with IV tPA. Data on more performance measures can be found at:

VMC also received the AHA/ASA Target: Type 2 Honor Roll award. To qualify for this award, hospitals must meet diabetes quality measures developed with more than 90% compliance for 12 consecutive months.

The Stroke Program at Valley Medical Center is a Joint Commission Certified Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Center. The third Joint Commission certified center in the state. This certification means that the program follows specific scientific guidelines including a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. Stroke patient care continues with our Transition of Care Program, Stroke Clinic, and Physical Rehab Clinic follow up.

JC_Gold Seal_AccreditationValley Medical Center is the recipient of the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.


A cerebral stroke occurs when there is a vascular interruption to part of the brain, typically resulting in damage to brain tissue. Thus, a stroke is considered a medical emergency, in which expedient intervention has been shown to improve outcome. Depending on the type of stroke, and the region of the brain affected, the functional implications of a cerebral stroke can vary greatly ranging from a transient loss of speech or motor movement, to paralysis or even death. Therefore, patients presenting a possible stroke at Valley Medical Center will be treated by the doctors and ancillary treatment team members to optimize the patient’s outcome.

Stroke ranks among the deadliest—and most complicated—of healthcare problems. Until recently physicians could treat only the devastating aftermath of stroke. But leading-edge stroke centers such as VMC's may limit, in some cases even prevent, the consequences of stroke.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked, depriving it of oxygen. Deprivation lasting more than a few moments can cause brain damage and result in permanent disability or death.

"It's critically important to pinpoint the precise location of a stroke and the extent of its damage, and to do so with great speed," says Dr. Peter Balousek, a neurosurgeon and neurointerventionalist from VMC's Stroke Center. The program's expert team includes ED physicians, neurologists, hospitalists, neurointerventionalists, IR team, pharmacists, rehab medicine providers, physical therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists.

Neuro-interventionalists provide immediate and top-notch intervention in the event of large vessel strokes, but Dr. Balousek acknowledges they can't do a thing if symptoms are not recognized until it's too late. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke and calling 911 right away can ensure that treatment can be given to reverse the effects of stroke.

VMC Emergency Services physician Karl Kaufmann sees stroke victims regularly in the ER and works closely with Dr. Balousek. "In an emergency setting, it's crucial that people know who to call and when. Just like during a heart attack, every single minute counts." For this reason,  one of the Stroke Center's main goals is to provide community education and outreach about the importance of recognizing signs and symptoms for stroke.


Symptoms of a Stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Source: American Academy of Neurology

If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately!  

Spot a Stroke FAST: Face drooping; Arm weakness; Speech difficulty; Time to call 9-1-1

Learn More about Recognizing Stroke's Warning Signs

Watch this American Stroke Association video demonstrating the distinctive body language of stroke.

When seconds count, can you spot a stroke? Take this quiz and find out!

Who is at Risk for Stroke?

According to the American Academy of Neurology, stroke is the third leading cause of death for adults in the United States and the leading cause of adult disability. Nationwide each year, roughly 750,000 people suffer a stroke, and about 160,000 die as a result. While there is no stereotypical stroke victim, physicians have identified some facts related to stroke:

  • Stroke risk increases with age but can occur at any age
  • More than one-quarter of those who have a stroke are under 65 years old
  • Men have slightly more strokes than women
  • More women die from strokes than from breast cancer
  • African-Americans have two times the stroke risk of Caucasians
  • Those with a family history of stroke and heart disease have an increased stroke risk

Reduce Your Risk

You can't control all of your risk factors for stroke. But maintaining cardiovascular fitness by observing the following prudent practices goes a long way toward bettering your odds

  • Control blood pressure
  • Monitor blood cholesterol
  • Stop smoking
  • Treat heart disease
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Avoid excess sodium
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Treat diabetes
  • Reduce stress

Follow-up Stroke Care

Valley cares deeply about our patients' recovery after stroke. Whatever your recovery goals are, Valley is here to assist in your recovery journey, helping you reach your highest potential and improve your quality of life. Learn more about caring for yourself after stroke.