Conemaugh Memorial Joins American Heart Association / American Stroke Association Stroke Research Study

August 30, 2016

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center will collaborate with the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as a participant in the first, large standardized research study to evaluate long-term outcomes of patients who experience mild stroke.

“Conemaugh Memorial was named a Primary Stroke Center in February 2010,” says Leslie Moran, Director of Conemaugh Memorial’s Neuroscience service line. “Our goal is to proactively meet the needs of an aging population through research and adherence to evidence-based guidelines developed by the AHA/ASA.” Conemaugh Memorial has earned the Gold Plus Award from the AHA/ASA the past two years for achieving designed standards in stroke care.

After an extensive vetting process, Conemaugh Memorial was selected for the Mild and Rapidly Improving Stroke Study (MaRISS), a three-year observational study. The goals of the study are to evaluate the long-term outcomes of patients with mild or rapidly improving stroke symptoms, determine the factors associated with poor outcome, and examine the effect of treatment with the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator, tPA, the only drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat acute ischemic stroke. Conemaugh Memorial’s tPA administration rate for 2016 is 11.5%.

MaRISS ressearchers across the country will use data from the AHA/ASA’s quality improvement program, Get With the Guidelines-Stroke. Researchers will examine up to 2,650 patients with mild or rapidly improving stroke. Each participating hospital is expected to recruit thirty patients during the course of the study, an estimated two patients per month, and follow-up with these patients by telephone at 30 and 90 days after enrollment.

Mild and rapidly improving stroke symptoms are common, affecting more than one-third of all stroke patients who report to the Department of Emergency Medicine, but the majority are not treated with clot-busting therapy, according to a 2011 study published in the journal, Stroke. Up to one-third of these patients are unable to return directly home and need immediate physical or occupational therapy to regain independence. The MaRISS aims to determine the long-term outcomes of these patients.

“The study will not affect our current high standard of care for stoke patients at Conemaugh Memorial,” says Dr. Nicholas Lanciano, Conemaugh Physician Group – Neurology and MaRISS principal investigator at Conemaugh Memorial. “It will allow us to gather important information about stroke patients and, in turn, help to facilitate a more knowledgeable discussion with family members and patients regarding medical care. Taking part in this study brings Conemaugh to the forefront, continuing to advance medical care in stroke patients.”

About Conemaugh Health System

Conemaugh Health System, a member of Duke LifePoint Healthcare, is the largest healthcare provider in west central Pennsylvania, serving over a half-million patients each year through the Conemaugh Physician Group and Medical Staff, a network of hospitals, specialty clinics and patient focused programs. Conemaugh’s 4,500+ employees and 350+ physicians are committed to excellence and repeatedly earn state and national recognition for exceptional clinical outcomes.  Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, the system’s flagship hospital, provides sophisticated technology, the highest levels of trauma and neonatal intensive care and a committed history of training tomorrow’s physician, nurses and allied health providers.