Telestroke, a new program introduced at Conemaugh Health System, will help save critical time when it comes to the treatment of stroke patients.
Telestroke is a mobile telecommunications system that allows for quicker communication and connection from physicians to patients when a stroke alert is activated in the emergency room. The technology includes a secure, two-way audio/visual link between neurologists and emergency room physicians and nurses caring for stroke patients at remote locations.
“This technology allows us to speak directly to patients, medical staff and family members at a distant location to access critical information in real time,” says Dr. Todd Lynn, Director of Stroke Medicine at Conemaugh Memorial. “Neurologists, like myself, can complete an interview and examination of the patient to help us provide rapid, efficient triage and treatment for stroke patients.”
Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center will be the “HUB” site where the neurologist will be located 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nason Hospital and Meyersdale Medical Center will be the “spoke” sites where the patient is located. The goal is to add additional sites, including Conemaugh Miners Medical Center, in the future. Emergency medicine physicians and staff at all locations have undergone extensive training for the telestroke program which launched the week of September 19, 2016.
Each year 795,000 strokes occur in the United States. Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability. Immediate treatment for stroke may minimize the long-term effects of a stroke. The only FDA approved treatment for ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator (Alteplase or t-PA). t-PA works by dissolving the clot allowing blood to flow to the part of the brain behind deprived of blood flow. When given within 3 hours, t-PA may improve a person’s chances of recovering from a stroke. *
“Getting help quickly is the key,” says Dr. Lynn. “That is why we are so pleased to introduce this telestroke program to our region.”
*National Stroke Association / www.stroke.org