(WTAJ) – Geisinger stroke centers are being nationally recognized for their stroke care.

All five of Geisinger’s Comprehensive and Primary Stroke Centers have received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus Get With The Guideline stroke quality achievement award. This honor recognizes commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability and accelerating recovery times.

In addition to the five stroke centers being recognized, Geisinger Medical Center (GMC), Geisinger Wyoming Valley (GWV) and Geisinger Community Medical Center (GCMC) received the American Heart Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster alteplase.

GMC and GWV also were awarded with the American Heart Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll Advanced Therapy award by meeting specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment to remove the clot causing the stroke.

Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, GMC and GWV received the American Heart Association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award, which aims to ensure patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to stroke.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition from the American Heart Association,” Timothy Frymoyer, vice president of Geisinger’s neuroscience institute said. “These awards highlight our continuous commitment to stroke care, making better health easier. We strive every day to provide the best care possible to our patients and are proud to stand out as a leader in life-saving stroke care in our communities and beyond.”

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Each year, program participants qualify for the award by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, Get With The Guidelines participants also educate patients to help them manage their health and recovery at home. Geisinger’s hospitals met specific scientific guidelines to be nationally recognized as a Comprehensive or Primary Stroke Center, featuring a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department.