weillcornellThe specially equipped ambulance is designed to diagnose and treat stroke. Photo credit: @nyphospital
On only its second day in operation, the stroke unit responded to a call from a doctor’s office on the Upper East Side, where a woman in her 90s had come in for a routine checkup. While there, she began to feel dizzy and weak on one side. The unit’s medical squad sped to the site and was able to give the woman tPA within the “golden hour,” so named because the treatment is even more powerful if administered within 60 minutes of the onset of symptoms. That’s rare; only about 1 percent of stroke patients nationwide receive tPA in that ideal window. As a result, she made a complete recovery. “It was a moment that made me proud to be a doctor,” says Dr. Michael Lerario, the mobile stroke unit program’s medical director and an assistant professor of clinical neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, who treated her. “We can come in and treat patients quicker and more effectively than we ever could before. It’s an elegant solution to a complex problem.” Weill Cornell Medicine, Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian are collecting data to assess their mobile stroke unit’s efficacy, tracking patient information such as mortality rates, degree of disability, length of hospital stay and type of complications for up to a year after initial treatment at either facility. Health expenditures are being examined, too, to determine the value of such units for academic medical centers and healthcare systems, including the feasibility of expanding to include additional units and incorporating mobile care into insurance reimbursement models.
To Dr. Fink, these mobile units open up even bigger possibilities. Not only do they have the potential to radically improve stroke outcomes, he says, they could represent a shift in how providers deliver overall emergency care. “This might be the first of many new developments in taking the hospital out to the patient.” 3/4 #stroke #MobileStrokeUnit #CareDiscoverTeach #WeillCornellMedicine
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