Mobile stroke units bring treatment to patients, potentially improving long-term outcomes
At least three U.S. medical centers are evaluating the benefits of deploying specially equipped mobile stroke units to respond to emergency calls for patients with suspected strokes. Most of these units contain CT scanners, lab facilities, and other functionality capable of determining whether a patient would benefit from clot-busting therapy. Such drugs can then be administered to appropriate patients before a patient even arrives in the ED. Early findings from the approach show that care can be accelerated, potentially improving stroke outcomes and reducing longer-term costs.
- In Houston, a mobile stroke unit dispatches along with EMS when a call involves a potential stroke victim.
- If the mobile stroke unit team determines that a patient is a candidate for clot-busting therapy, clinicians can administer the therapy, accelerating potentially brain-saving care.
- In a nine-week period, researchers reported that they treated about two patients per week with clot-busting drugs, 40% of whom received treatment within the first hour of onset. Further, none of the patients who received the drugs experienced intracerebral hemorrhage, and half of them recovered fully from their strokes within 90 days.
Following Germany’s lead, mobile stroke units have been deployed at medical centers in Ohio, Texas, and, soon, Colorado.
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