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October 23, 2018

Finally A Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center in Your Neighborhood 

by Steven Augustine

Good news for Santa Monica! Providence Saint John’s has been certified as a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC) by the Joint Commission 

Providence Saint John’s Health Center (PSJHC) is the first center to receive this level of designation in LA County, and also serves as a comprehensive stroke system for LA County EMS.

What is Thrombectomy? 

Thrombectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat acute ischemic stroke for up to 24 hours after stroke onset. Acute ischemic stroke is often the result of a blood clot traveling to the brain, obstructing normal blood flow and quickly causing brain damage or death. To perform thrombectomy, a narrow catheter is navigated from the femoral artery (in the groin) to the arteries of the brain, where one or more specialized techniques are used to mechanically remove the blood clot(s), thereby restoring normal blood flow and saving brain tissue.

What is a TSC? 

Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center is a new designation granted by the Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association in recognition of the latest evidence demonstrating the safety and efficacy of thrombectomy in the treatment of large vessel acute ischemic stroke.

How does TSC compare to other levels stroke center certification? 

TSC certification requires a stroke center to have most of the capabilities of a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC), a designation historically only achievable by an academic teaching hospital. A TSC must be able to safely and effectively treat any and all ischemic stroke patients 24/7 and must be capable of receiving complex ischemic stroke patients from neighboring Primary Stroke Centers.

In addition to meeting all Primary Stroke Center requirements, TSCs must:

  • Be ready to perform thrombectomy 24/7 (specialists and team to perform procedure, nurses trained in the management of specialized stroke care)
  • Have dedicated ICU beds and on-site physicians to provide critical care services 24/7
  • Be able to perform advanced stroke imaging (CT, catheter angiography, and MRI) 24/7
  • Meet minimum volume requirements
  • Maintain stringent, publicly-reported quality and education standards for all stroke caregivers

Why it matters for our patient population: 

During acute ischemic stroke, an average of 1.9 million brain cells die each minute. Rapid access to a Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center is essential to minimize disability and death.

How this will change our stroke program: 

It doesn’t! Our stroke program has been providing thrombectomy since its inception; achieving TSC certification simply reflects the Joint Commission recognizing our track record of safe and effective complex stroke care.

Excellence in Stroke Care:  

Excellence in stroke care

Providence Saint John’s has been awarded the highest levels of achievement in stroke care from the American Heart/American Stroke Association:  Target Stroke: Honor Roll Elite Plus indicating rapid and consistent treatment times, and Gold Plus indicating excellence in stroke quality measures.

For more information, visit us at

About the Author

Steven Augustine NP

Steven Augustine

Steven B. Augustine, MSN, NP, CNRN, CCRN, is a geriatric medicine specialist at the Pacific Stroke & Aneurysm Center and Providence Saint John’s Health Center. He and has been practicing for 6 years after graduating from University of Pennsylvania. As a geriatric nurse practitioner, he specializes in geriatric medicine including stroke, neurovascular and neurocritical care.

Last updated: April 1st, 2020