Every minute counts when stroke, or brain attack, happens. In order to prevent further damage to the brain – or worse – it is crucial to act FAST so treatment can begin.
Hanover Hospital is proud to offer Telestroke, a telemedicine system focused on diagnosing and treating stroke patients FAST. The system enables real-time communication with neurology experts at Penn State Milton S. Hershey’s (HMC) Stroke Center and access to advanced interventions.
Using Telestroke’s sophisticated computer system and webcam, Hershey Medical Center physicians provide consultation that includes examining the patient, reviewing scans and speaking to the patient and family in real-time. A treatment recommendation is then made, and in consultation with Hanover Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) physician, the best course of action is determined.
According to Janet Cutsail, Director of Disease Management, Hanover Hospital, Telestroke allows the ED physician and nurses to communicate with HMC, a teaching hospital that does research for increased treatment options beyond the tPA (tissue Plasminogen Activator), a medication that we can administer here for stroke patients.
The computer is also able to send page alerts to HMC with a notification about the impending (or possibility of) transfer. With one click, the computer generates the order for a helicopter dispatch and for a bed assignment at Hershey. This means there are NO delays as patients arrive at the Medical Center.
Telestroke technology benefits patients in numerous ways, most importantly, offering the speed that is critical for the best outcome, says Cutsail. “It also offers more treatment options for patients who may not qualify for tPA administration, including ‘wake up’ strokes – those stricken while sleeping, with no way to gauge the exact time of onset.” The tPA drug works by dissolving clots and restoring blood flow, but must be given within 3 to 4-1/2 hours of the onset of symptoms. There are other reasons why a person might not qualify for tPA administration, so having access to other treatment options is crucial.
About 73% of stroke patients usually are able to remain here in Hanover, close to home and family, Cutsail notes, and do not require transfer for further care.
The new Telestroke program is part of the affiliation between Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Hanover Hospital, a relationship that allows us to serve our stroke and heart attack patients more effectively.
“Telestroke provides patients with prompt specialized stroke care by accessing specialists at Hershey Medical Center,” states James Wissler, President and CEO, Hanover Hospital. “The ability for the physician in Hershey to view the patient and discuss a treatment plan with our physicians allows for prompt treatment. Telestroke is a tremendous tool that enhances the level of care we provide to our patients.”
How to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke
Time is Brain so act F.A.S.T.!
F = FACE: look for facial droop by asking the person to smile
A = ARMS: ask the person to raise their arms. Does one side drift downward?
S = SPEECH: ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly, and does he/she understand what you are asking them to do?
T = TIME: if the person shows any of these symptoms, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY
What is Stroke?
Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Disruption in blood flow is caused when either a blood clot blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke).
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen. Due to both the physical and chemical changes that occur in the brain with stroke, damage can continue to occur for several days.
A loss of brain function occurs with brain cell death. This may include impaired ability with movement, speech, thinking and memory, bowel and bladder, eating, emotional control, and other vital body functions. Recovery from stroke and the specific ability affected depends on the size and location of the stroke. A small stroke may result in problems such as weakness in an arm or leg. Larger strokes may cause paralysis (inability to move part of the body), loss of speech, or even death.