Saddleback Memorial Partners with UC Irvine Health to Offer World-Class Comprehensive Stroke Program


Expanded Team Provides 24/7 Stroke Care Using the Most Advanced Minimally Invasive Techniques and State-of-the-Art Technology

Saddleback Memorial has established an exclusive partnership with UC Irvine Heath to offer comprehensive stroke care to Orange County residents. Through this new collaboration, Saddleback Memorial has added to its team of world-class neurointerventional physicians and surgeons and has expanded its capabilities to include round-the-clock advanced treatment for stroke patients.

In recognition of Saddleback Memorial’s expanded capabilities and commitment to provide an extraordinary stroke program, the Joint Commission recently certified Saddleback Memorial as an advanced primary stroke center. In addition, Saddleback Memorial has received a “Best Hospital” ranking in neurology and neurosurgery from U.S. News & World Report.

“When it comes to stroke, we have a mantra that ‘time is brain’ because every minute counts,” says Shuichi Suzuki, MD, interventional neuroradiologist and board-certified vascular neurologist at UC Irvine Health and newly appointed medical director of neurointerventional services at Saddleback Memorial. “Bringing 24/7 advanced and comprehensive stroke treatment to the residents in this community is monumental because it will ultimately save lives and minimize disabilities.”

Stroke patients have received exceptional care at Saddleback Memorial since the hospital was first designated a stroke receiving center in 2009. Through an innovative telemedicine program, stroke patients have a board-certified neurologist at their bedside within approximately 15 minutes of their arrival. 

Often, the first step in treatment of stroke is the administration of a clot-busting intravenous medication called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). When tPA is appropriate, stroke patients at Saddleback Memorial receive the drug immediately. The “door-to-needle” time at Saddleback Memorial is one of the best in Orange County and beats the national average by as much as half. When given promptly, one in three patients who receive tPA resolve their symptoms or see major improvement.

For some stroke patients, tPA is not appropriate or is not enough, and a more complex surgical intervention is required to remove a clot or stop bleeding in the brain. With the expanded team and enhanced capabilities made possible through the new partnership with UC Irvine Heath, Saddleback Memorial can now provide advanced treatment to all stroke patients 24/7. 

“Saddleback Memorial has outstanding teams in both their emergency department and state-of-the-art biplane cath lab where stroke patients receive life-saving care,” says Dr. Suzuki. “Highly-skilled intensive care and rehabilitation teams provide critical post-stroke care in a special unit dedicated to these patients. With the new collaboration with UC Irvine Health, stroke patients can get everything they need under one roof – just minutes from where they live.”

“It’s a real privilege to partner with UC Irvine Health to bring university-level stroke care to our community,” says Steve Geidt, CEO for Saddleback Memorial. “This new relationship, along with our certification as an advanced primary stroke center and our recognition as a ‘Best Hospital’ in neurology and neurosurgery from U.S. News & World Report, means residents can feel confident they’ll receive the best stroke care available if they find themselves being wheeled through our doors.”

“This partnership further demonstrates the strong ties between UC Irvine Health and MemorialCare Health System,” Geidt continues. “It complements our recently announced plans to expand access to high quality, cost effective health care through the opening of new state-of-the art primary care health centers throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties.”

More information on Saddleback Memorial’s comprehensive stroke program or new neurointerventional services.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, California, a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among “America’s Best Hospitals” for 13 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center. It is also the primary teaching hospital for the UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County.