Saving Precious Minutes
Nurse Beth Wright and Dr. John Plastino of the Whidbey General Emergency Department participate in a Telestroke consultation with specialists from Swedish Hospital in Seattle.
Almost weekly, Whidbey General sees someone who may be suffering a stroke. Thanks to the innovative TeleStroke program, these patients can now quickly be evaluated by nationally recognized stroke care specialists at Swedish Hospital in Seattle without leaving Whidbey General.
The program is a partnership between the Swedish Neuroscience Institute Acute TeleStroke Program and Whidbey General. Any time of the day or night, a team at Swedish is alerted when a stroke patient arrives at Whidbey General.
Using secure video conferencing, a specialist in Seattle conducts a virtual bedside neurological examination with the patient on Whidbey. Sophisticated technology transmits brain images and other medical data to the specialist, who selects the best acute stroke treatments in collaboration with physicians at Whidbey General.
Rapid and accurate stroke diagnosis is crucial. As minutes pass, more brain cells die if a blood clot causing a stroke is not destroyed.
Less than 10 days after the TeleStroke program went live, it was successfully used in two stroke emergencies. In the first, doctors determined the patient should remain at Whidbey General for treatment.
In the second emergency, a patient experiencing a stroke received a brain scan, had the results reviewed by neurologists, received urgently needed medication and was placed on a helicopter to Swedish—all in about 90 minutes.
TeleStroke equipment was funded by the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.
To find out more about identifying a stroke and what to do if a stroke occurs, visit https://www.acls.net/stroke-information-and-resources.htm.