When it comes to surviving a stroke, timing is everything.
A stroke happens when blood flow in the brain is blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke) or by damage from bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). When blood can’t flow normally through the brain, death or disability can happen in a matter of minutes.
The faster a stroke victim is treated, the more likely she is to survive. But of course it takes time to get to the hospital and start treatment.
Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is partnering with Weill Cornell Medicine and the New York City Fire Department to bring stroke care to the patient, doing away with the time spent getting to the hospital. Together they have launched the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU), the first emergency vehicle on the East Coast specially equipped to provide immediate care to patients who may be having a stroke.
“We are extremely fortunate and excited to have the first mobile stroke unit on the east coast at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. This new technology will allow us to treat stroke patients faster, more effectively, and with greater accuracy while outside of the hospital.
The concept of ‘time is brain’ emphasizes that every minute counts to restore blood flow to the brain. This unit will allow us to provide the ‘clot-busting’ agents intravenously in the field, and transfer the patients faster than ever to our hospital.
If required, we will quickly move them to the angiography suite and work to remove the blood clot from the brain arteries under X-ray guidance through a catheter, a procedure known as mechanical thrombectomy. There is no doubt that this technology will save lives, and prevent disability for countless numbers of stroke victims in our area.”
The vehicle is staffed by paramedics, a CT technologist and a neurologist and carries medication specifically for treating and diagnosing strokes. One of the medications on board is a blood clot dissolving drug called tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator. Getting treatment with tPA as quickly as possible is crucial for treating ischemic stroke. The faster a stroke victim can be treated with tPA and mechanical thrombectomy, the better outcome she is likely to have.
NewYork-Presbyterian is proud to be the only hospital offering this service, which is now in use for treating patients in the New York area.
Learn more about the Endovascular Neurosurgery Center here.
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