How Emory gets patients back in the game after stroke

Feb. 6, 2014

As a defensive tackle on the University of Georgia's football team, David Jacobs had met his share of tough opponents. But in 2001, he faced he fight of his life when he suffered a stroke. David spent the next month recovering in Emory University Hospital's Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. From there, he moved to Emory's Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, a multidisciplinary center that provides ongoing care for patients who have undergone traumatic events such as a stroke. There, he would spend three months learning to walk, eat and do the basic things that used to come so easily to an athlete of his caliber. He would never play football again, but today the successful mortgage account manager often returns to UGA — and to high schools, churches, and community centers across Georgia — to talk about stroke and the importance of quick response.

In 2013 the stroke programs at Emory University Hospital (EUH) and Grady Memorial Hospital became the first in North Georgia to receive Comprehensive Stroke Center certification from the Joint Commission, the accrediting body for all U.S. hospitals. This highest possible rating recognizes institutions with specialists, programs, and clinical resources to treat stroke patients of any complexity, around the clock, with accuracy and speed.

In addition, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, and Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital are now Advanced Primary Stroke Centers. Emory-affiliated Southern Regional Medical Center also holds Advanced Primary Stroke certification.

Each year, Emory clinicians treat roughly a quarter of the 20,000 stroke patients in Georgia. EUH and Grady are two of the nation's highest-volume hospitals for acute stroke, each admitting roughly 1,000 patients per year, the majority at Grady for ischemic stroke (which accounts for 87% of all strokes) and the majority at EUH for the rarer but potentially more devastating hemorrhagic strokes.

Feature Story in Emory Medicine Magazine >>