RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville and Valley Baptist-Harlingen were recognized by the American Heart Association for their commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment.

Valley Baptist-Brownsville earned the AHA’s “Gold Plus Get With The Guidelines-Stroke” quality achievement award.

Valley Baptist-Harlingen was also recognized by the AHA with the “Gold Plus With Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Get With The Guidelines-Stroke” quality achievement award.

The advanced therapy designation is awarded to hospitals that meet specific AHA criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment, according to a press release.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die.

As the fifth-leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S., early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability, and accelerating recovery times, according to the release.

“Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen has been at the forefront of stroke research and has participated in the trials that shaped the latest guidelines,” said Dr. Ameer Hassan, DO, FAHA, FSVIN, head of the neuroscience department, director of endovascular surgical neuroradiology and director of clinical neuroscience research at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen. “Get With The Guidelines makes it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, which studies show can help patients recover better. The end goal is to ensure more people throughout the Rio Grande Valley can experience longer, healthier lives.”

Both Valley Baptist-Brownsville and Valley Baptist-Harlingen also received the AHA’s “Target: Type 2 Diabetes” honor roll designation.

The two hospitals aim to ensure patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to stroke.

“We are incredibly pleased to recognize Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville and Valley Baptist-Harlingen for their commitment to caring for patients with stroke,” said Steven Messe, M.D., chairperson of the Stroke System of Care Advisory Group. “Participation in Get With The Guidelines is associated with improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families and communities.”

In addition to the recognition from the AHA, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. Valley Baptist-Harlingen was also certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by DNV Healthcare, and was the first hospital in the Rio Grande Valley to receive the designation.