Nearly 800,000 strokes occur annually in the United States. Patients coming to the Emergency Department at SwedishAmerican and SwedishAmerican Medical Center/Belvidere will now have immediate access to world-class stroke neurologists at the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center in Madison, Wis.
Through its affiliation with UW Health, SwedishAmerican is now part of the University of Wisconsin Telestroke Network, which offers quick assessment and response to the medical emergency of stroke. Time is of the essence with stroke, because brain cells are lost at the rate of 1.9 million neurons per minute when a stroke cuts off blood flow. The clot-busting drug tPA can only be administered within four-and-a-half hours of the stroke’s onset.
“We are pleased to be a part of UW’s Telestroke Network,” said Dr. Bill Gorski, president and CEO for SwedishAmerican. “Our patients expect not only compassionate care but leading-edge technology to expand the resources available for treatment. Telestroke is just one more way we are growing to serve our community.”
Through a video system, Telestroke enables a UW stroke neurologist to directly interview patients and family members when a stroke is suspected. Computed Tomography (CT) scans are also viewable, and a treatment plan recommendation is directly communicated to emergency room physicians and nurses so care can begin immediately. All in the room can see and hear the stroke neurologist during the Telestroke process.
By providing immediate assistance to suspected stroke patients, emergency room personnel are supported in a situation when time is critical. This extra level of stroke-specific knowledge also enhances patient safety and facilitates treatments that lead to better outcomes.
In most cases, Telestroke will allow patients to stay at SwedishAmerican. But in more complicated cases, the patient may need to be transferred to Madison for specialized treatment. This is a benefit because the neurologist will have already met and evaluated the patient. At UW Hospital, patients who need further treatment will have access to neurosurgeons and interventional neuroradiologists who specialize in less invasive surgery in which catheters are threaded into the brain to remove blood clots. The stroke team at UW Hospital and Clinics is on call 24 hours a day and offers stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and neuroanesthesiologists.
According to Donna Katen-Bahensky, president and CEO of University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics: “Telestroke is an excellent example of our growing affiliation with SwedishAmerican Health System, and we are excited to add complementary services to the excellent care they provide. We share a common vision of offering the best and latest treatment options.”
SwedishAmerican is ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation for treatment of stroke by HealthGrades, the leading independent health care ratings organization. In addition, both UW Health and SwedishAmerican have been awarded Primary Stroke designation by The Joint Commission, meeting the highest standards in quality and safety for recognizing and treating strokes.
From the May 25-31, 2011 issue