UAMS Earns Certification as Advanced Primary Stroke Center

By David Robinson

Salah Keyrouz, M.D., led UAMS' stroke certification effort.

The Joint Commission National Quality Approval

May 28, 2010| The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently became certified by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

The designation earns UAMS the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission for Primary Stroke Centers.

“This certification affirms UAMS’ ability to provide the highest quality acute and non acute stroke care,” said Salah Keyrouz, M.D., a stroke neurologist who led the certification effort. Keyrouz is also a neurointensivist, a subspecialist who treats patients with critical brain-related illnesses.

UAMS has the only comprehensive stroke treatment team in Arkansas, with one of only three stroke neurologists in Arkansas and the state’s only neurointensivist. The stroke team includes interventional neuroradiologists, who provide catheter-based treatments of the brain, and vascular neurosurgeons. In July, UAMS will open the state’s only neurointensive care unit. The unit will be dedicated to patients with catastrophic and critical neurological conditions.

“UAMS demonstrated that its stroke care program follows national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients,” said Jean E. Range, executive director of the Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certification.

UAMS earned the certification after the Joint Commission conducted an on-site review in April.

“We’re proud to achieve the distinction,” Keyrouz said. “Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center Certification recognizes our commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients and our community.”

Arkansas leads the nation in stroke mortality with 58.8 deaths per 100,000 population, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2006 statistics. Arkansas had 1,884 stroke-related deaths in 2006. Stroke also is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, which has 4.7 million stroke survivors.

Since November 2008, UAMS has worked to makes its stroke expertise available to all areas of Arkansas by connecting with remote hospitals via two-way video communication. The Arkansas SAVES telestroke program, which includes a partnership with stroke neurologists in Fort Smith and Hot Springs, is now linked with 17 hospitals throughout the state. Arkansas SAVES (Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) enables a stroke neurologist to view brain images from a distant location, and interact with and examine a patient to distinguish whether the stroke is the type that can be treated by a special clot-busting drug that must be administered within 4.5 hours.

The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission began the program—the nation’s first—in 2003. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at

The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more then 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long-term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks and other managed care entities.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or