Work to reduce stroke mortality bears results

March 10, 2011

Oregon’s stroke death rate has fallen from the fifth highest in the nation to No. 12, according to recent statistics from the American Heart Association. Providence Brain Institute is proud to have played a part in that. In the 11 years since Providence Stroke Center was established, we have improved patient outcomes by expanding 24/7 access to highly specialized stroke care in our Portland hospitals, shortening time to treatment and increasing the use of the lifesaving thrombolytic tPA.

In 2009, we took a leading role in the next wave of stroke care by establishing Providence Telestroke Network. The program, which has grown to 11 locations throughout Oregon, provides hospitals in small communities and remote areas immediate access to experienced, vascular-trained stroke neurologists.

We also have expanded our technological capabilities, allowing for state-of-the-art neurointerventional procedures to remove clots and repair aneurysms.

Accompanying these advances is our growing roster of world-class talent. Nationally recognized neurosurgeon and neurointerventionalist Vivek Deshmukh, M.D., F.A.C.S., joined Providence Brain Institute in 2010. In January we welcomed stroke neurologist John Zurasky, M.D., who brings a rich background in inpatient neurological care with a focus on neurocritical care.

It’s rewarding to see the results of these efforts, but more needs to be done. Lack of awareness of the signs and risk factors for stroke remains the biggest obstacle to reducing stroke mortality. May is National Stroke Month and a good time to educate the public and our patients. To that end, we’re pleased to offer these resources:

  • Streaks for Stroke, an annual awareness event that reaches more than 1,000 Oregonians
  • Community forums at telestroke locations
  • Online videos and resources to help patients understand the controllable risk factors and warning signs of stroke at

By giving our patients the knowledge to make wise lifestyle choices and to react quickly to signs of stroke, we are saving lives and preventing lifelong disability. And as Providence Stroke Center further expands our expertise and broadens our geographic reach, we are confident that we’ll continue to play a role in Oregon’s improving health.

To learn what you can do to prevent and recognize stroke, please visit