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Stroke Care to Go

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The state’s first mobile “telestroke” unit—a specially equipped ambulance prepared to bring rapid treatment to people having strokes before they even get to the hospital—is at the ready.

“Using a sophisticated telemedicine platform, our goal is to extend the reach of our stroke specialists,” says Emory Professor of Neurology Michael Frankel, director of Grady’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center.

Launched by Grady Health System and Emory School of Medicine, the mobile unit is part of the Marcus Stroke Network, which aims to reduce deaths and disability by stroke in the Southeast. It will be available for dispatch Monday through Saturday and will be manned by an emergency medicine nurse, paramedic, and advanced EMT and CT technologist.

Upon arrival, the unit’s medical team will conduct a diagnostic scan of the patient and transmit the images back to Grady’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center, where an Emory vascular neurologist will make a diagnosis. If the neurologist determines that the patient is having a stroke, a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), like the clot-dissolving drug alteplase, can be prescribed to be given during transport.

Mobile telestroke units have been shown to cut at least five minutes off the time to give a CT scan and 26 minutes off the time taken to administer tPA.

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