UCLA launches high-tech ‘mo­bile stroke unit’

Iran Daily - - Health -

An aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ter at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les (UCLA) has launched the first ‘mo­bile stroke unit’ (MSU) on the West Coast of the US to bring the hos­pi­tal to the pa­tient, po­ten­tially lead­ing to higher sur­vival rates and bet­ter out­comes for pa­tients.

Dr. Jef­frey Saver, di­rec­tor of the UCLA Com­pre­hen­sive Stroke Cen­ter, said, “With the UCLA Health Mo­bile Stroke Unit, we are bring­ing the hos­pi­tal to the pa­tient in­stead of the pa­tient to the hos­pi­tal, in or­der to save as much brain as pos­si­ble.”

Ac­cord­ing to the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC), some­one in the US suf­fers a stroke ev­ery 40 sec­onds, xin­huanet.com wrote.

Ev­ery four min­utes, some­one dies of a stroke. Strokes kill about 140,000 Amer­i­cans each year, which is one out of ev­ery 20 deaths.

When treat­ing stroke vic­tims, ev­ery se­cond counts. But in large cities, dense traf­fic can make it dif­fi­cult to get a pa­tient to the emer­gency room in a timely man­ner, and in ru­ral ar­eas, spe­cial­ized care can be miles away.

Dr. May Nour, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the UCLA Ar­line and Henry Gluck Stroke Res­cue Pro­gram, said, “Rapid re­sponse is crit­i­cal, be­cause the sooner a stroke is treated, the bet­ter the pa­tient’s out­come.

“We know from re­search at UCLA that in a typ­i­cal stroke, ev­ery minute that goes by with­out treat­ment, two mil­lion brain cells die.”

So UCLA Health is test­ing MSU to help med­i­cal per­son­nel start treat­ment in the field, al­low­ing doc­tors to make a di­ag­no­sis, ad­min­is­ter med­i­ca­tion and even con­duct Com­puted To­mog­ra­phy (CT) scans be­fore ar­riv­ing at the hos­pi­tal.

The high-tech ve­hi­cle is a unique type of am­bu­lance equipped with a mo­bile CT scan­ner, which al­lows doc­tors to di­ag­nose and treat strokes in the field with ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­ca­tions.

Within the unit are a mo­bile blood-test­ing lab­o­ra­tory, as well as a neu­rol­o­gist, crit­i­cal care nurse, CT tech­nol­o­gist and para­medic.

In the ini­tial phase of the pi­lot pro­gram, a neu­rol­o­gist spe­cial­iz­ing in stroke treat­ment will be rid­ing in the unit.

As the pro­gram de­vel­ops, a neu­rol­o­gist will over­see care more ef­fi­ciently via a live video and voice con­nec­tion from Ron­ald Rea­gan UCLA Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The use of spe­cially equipped am­bu­lances has be­gun to spread across the US.

The first US MSU launched in Hous­ton in early 2014, fol­low­ing the world’s first in Ber­lin, which be­gan run­ning in early 2011.

So far, about 10 other US MSUS are in op­er­a­tion, with most of them hav­ing been put into ser­vice dur­ing the past 15 months.

The UCLA unit is the first such unit to op­er­ate in Cal­i­for­nia. It is now part of a US na­tional study to test the value of start­ing stroke care in the field.

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