Mercy Hospital St. Louis Receives Advanced Stroke Certification

November 20, 2012

Dr. David Rempe, medical director of Mercy Stroke Services.

ST. LOUIS - On average, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), a stroke occurs every 40 seconds, kills more than 137,000 people a year and is the No. 4 cause of death.

In an effort to better educate the community and serve these patients, Mercy Hospital St Louis recently received Advanced Certification for a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission in collaboration with the AHA/ASA. Achievement of Primary Stroke Center Certification signifies Mercy’s dedication to fostering better outcomes for stroke patients.

The voluntary certification process includes a rigorous on-site review process completed every two years. Developed in collaboration with the American Stroke Association and launched in 2003, The Joint Commission's Primary Stroke Center Certification program is based on the Brain Attack Coalition's "Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers." Certification is available only to stroke programs in Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals.

The Mercy Stroke Team is an interdisciplinary group that works with first responders to transport patients to the emergency department for rapid and efficient assessment of acute stroke patients. Reducing the “door-to-needle” time to provide rapid treatment of acute stroke patients with tPA improves treatment outcome. Nationally, only 25 percent of patients receive tPA within 60 minutes of arrival to the hospital. At Mercy, 58 percent of patients are treated within this golden hour. 

“While we are proud of these quick treatment times, we continue to try and reduce this door-to-needle time,” said David Rempe, MD, medical director of Mercy Stroke Services. “We recently had a one-day review looking at treatment of acute stroke and as a result established several new processes to reduce this time even more.” 

In addition, Mercy’s Stroke Team has been working closely with local EMS community to help ensure a smooth transition for acute stroke patients from the minute paramedics arrive on scene to treatment at Mercy. 

“Our goal is to continue to improve the care of our stroke patients by expanding public awareness and treating patients with appropriate evidenced-based therapies,” Dr. Rempe added.

Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Mercy’s St. Louis area services include a 979-bed hospital in St. Louis, 187-bed hospital in Washington, and Mercy Clinic, a 575-member multispecialty physician organization. For more about Mercy, visit


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