Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 18, 2012

Your Health, Our Hands

Duke Raleigh Hospital Earns Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Center

By Paul C. Peterson, MD
Medical Director, Duke Raleigh Stroke Center Program


The Joint Commission, in conjunction with The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, has recognized Duke Raleigh Hospital with Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. This achievement recognizes our dedication to fostering the best possible outcomes for patients.

The award validates the high standard of care already provided at Duke Raleigh for stroke patients. We were already meeting The Joint Commission recommendations. This award is simply public recognition of what we – and our patients – already know about the superior care we provide.

Duke Raleigh’s recent recognition completes the picture for Wake County. Now every hospital in the county has the Primary Stroke Center designation. As well, we complete the picture for Duke University Health System, joining Duke Hospital and Durham Regional in having advanced disease certification in stroke care.

Duke Raleigh’s stroke program was the next logical step in building on our well-established base of neurology and neurosurgery. Ali Zomorodi, MD, neurosurgeon and medical director of the skull base and cerebrovascular center at Duke Raleigh Hospital are now bringing world-class care in very complex surgeries to Wake County. The center is quickly earning a national reputation for having some of the lowest complication rates and best patient outcomes for these complex procedures.

Patients have consistently given the skull base and cerebrovascular team high marks. In 2011 and 2012, our patients rated the friendliness of our physicians and our nurses in the 95th percentile and the skill of our physicians in the 98th percentile.

We like to take every possible opportunity to remind the public about the warning signs of stroke. So, remember: Think FAST for stroke. The four most important signs to look for:

  • Facial weakness or drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech (Look for slurred speech or difficulty finding the right words.)
  • Time (When did these symptoms start?)

Often stroke victims cannot respond appropriately, so it’s very important that family members and friends recognize the signs. Call 911 as soon as possible so that treatment can be given that may reduce or even reverse the effects of the stroke.

The most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke:  Manage your blood pressure, watch cholesterol levels and quit smoking. For patients who already have diagnosed high blood pressure or high cholesterol, take your medications as prescribed, and monitor diet to reduce sodium (salt) and cholesterol intake.

People should understand their unique risk factors. For instance, African Americans have twice the risk of having a first stroke than Caucasians. Stroke can happen at any age; a quarter of all strokes happen to people 65 or younger.

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. Learn more at

There are precautions you can take to reduce your risk of stroke. But when you suspect someone you love has had a stroke, world-class care is available right in your own community.


Find out more about Duke Raleigh Hospital and our services!

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