Mills-Peninsula's Mobile Stroke Unit was one of the first hospitals in the West Coast joining Houston, Denver, New York, Chicago, Cleveland and Los Angeles to pilot this technology. Preliminary studies have indicated that a mobile stroke unit can reduce the time from ambulance dispatch to treatment to as little as 11 minutes. Data gathered through the Mills-Peninsula pilot will contribute to national efforts aimed at demonstrating the Mobile Stroke Unit’s ability to:
- Reduce stroke-related disability and mortality
- Reduce the need for post-stroke rehabilitation and hospitalization
The Critical CT Scan
There are two types of stroke — ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are blockages while hemorrhagic strokes bleed. While about 85 percent of strokes are ischemic and need the blockage removed as quickly as possible, the medication given to dissolve the clot — known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) — could be fatal if given to a hemorrhagic stroke patient.
If the CT scan shows a hemorrhagic stroke, the patient can be transported to the nearest hospital where a stroke team is ready to jump into action based on the diagnosis.
“You can’t make any decision until you diagnose what type of stroke the patient has,” Joey English, M.D., Ph.D. MSU co-principal investigator says. “And every minute faster we treat the patient saves an estimated 2 million brain cells.”
“The point of the research study is to see if having a Mobile Stroke Unit benefits the community,” Jenny Im, R.N., director of the Neuroscience Service Line says. “Do patients have better, long-term outcomes and is the cost to the overall care system lower if we can shorten the time from onset of symptoms to tPA?”