Research Medical Center
February 22, 2016

Dr Iftekhar Ahmed

Minutes matter for stroke victims requiring critical treatment within a specific time frame—from the moment their symptoms begin—in order to be more likely to recover and less likely to have permanent disabilities. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, currently only a small percentage of stroke patients in Missouri get help within the recommended amount of time, oftentimes because they don’t recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke. Research Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health—the Kansas City region’s leading healthcare provider—recently earned the prestigious Target: Gold Plus Target Stroke and Gold Target Stroke Elite Plus by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. Research also maintains the status as a Level 1 Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) Stroke Center in Missouri.

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association launched Target: Stroke Phase II in January 2015, naming honorees across the nation based on 2014 quality data. Research Medical Center was the first hospital in the Kansas City area to earn recognition as Stroke Honor Roll – Elite.  The goal of Phase II of the Target: Stroke program is to recognize hospitals that continue improving acute ischemic stroke (non-bleeding or non-hemorrhaging type of stroke) care by reducing door-to-needle times for eligible patients being treated with the clot-busting drug t-PA. An Accredited Stroke Center since 2003, Research Medical Center was the first hospital in the Kansas City area to achieve this status.

“The Gold Plus Target Stroke and Gold Target Stroke Elite Plus award mean stroke patients diagnosed with blood clotting in the brain at Research Medical Center are being diagnosed efficiently and treated quickly with the most effective clot-busting drug,” says Iftekhar Ahmed, M.D., Medical Director, Research Medical Center Stroke Care. “Quicker treatment offers patients a greater chance of brain preservation, which also means a patient has a better chance of recovery from stroke. In stroke care, lost time is lost brain.”

“These honors demonstrate Research Medical Center’s commitment to aggressive, multidisciplinary stroke intervention to offer the best possible outcomes for patients,” says Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer, Research Medical Center. “And the role EMS professionals serve in earning these honors cannot go unmentioned. It is truly a partnership where EMS first responders begin patient care in the field that helps us more quickly diagnose a blood-clotting type of stroke. This is all about effective and efficient teamwork.”

Research Medical Center has specifically trained staff available 24 hours a day to treat time-sensitive medical emergencies such as stroke. The AHSA recognizes the hospital’s interdisciplinary Stroke Team that possess the skills and tools needed to limit damage from a stroke—laboratory tests, blood pressure checks, possible CAT scan and MRI tests, immediate consultation with a Board-certified physician, and the use of clot-busting drugs such as t-PA. The Stroke Team, comprised of stroke and Board-certified emergency room physicians, nurses and support services such as lab, radiology and pharmacy, is dedicated to improving patient outcomes. 

For more information on Research Medical Center and its award-winning stroke care program, visit