Stroke—When Minutes Matter
A new partnership with Northern Nevada Medical Center puts a brain specialist
in the room in 3 minutes or less.
Humboldt General Hospital can now provide a higher level of care to patients
experiencing a stroke as part of a robotic telemedicine partnership with
Northern Nevada Medical Center. The Telestroke Network gives HGH the resources
of NNMC’s Primary Stroke Center and allows HGH physicians access
to neurologists 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via a remote access robot.
Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death and the top cause of adult
disability in the United States. Telestroke emphasizes speed. Because
“time is brain” and brain is life, there is roughly a three-hour
window from the time stroke symptoms appear until the window closes on
administering tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), the best hope for busting
the clots that otherwise can lead to permanent brain damage.
How does it work? When a patient with stroke symptoms arrives at Humboldt
General Hospital, the Emergency Department team confirms the patient’s
stroke symptoms and then calls Northern Nevada Medical Center, which pages
the on-call TeleStroke physician. At Humboldt General, a nurse rolls the
robot to the foot of the patient’s bed. The neurologist connects
remotely to the robot via software on a workstation, a personal laptop
or even an iPad. The physician can pan, zoom and tilt the robot’s
camera to view the patient’s vital signs and charts, perform a full
examination, and interact and converse with the patient, family members
and medical care providers. The neurologist then makes a recommendation
for treatment, which the ED team carries out.
The TeleStroke partnership allows more patients to stay in Winnemucca,
closer to home and their families. Complex stroke cases are still transferred
to larger medical centers, although the TeleStroke network will shave
precious time off those protocols as well.
B.E. F.A.S.T. - Warning Signs of Possible Stroke
The initial signs of stroke may be difficult to recognize, but most strokes
commonly include one or more of the following:
- Sudden loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden dizziness or trouble walking
- Sudden loss or vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden double vision
- Facial droop or uneven smile
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
- Arm (or leg) weakness or numbness in one or both limbs
- Slurred speech
- Trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden confusion
- Do not delay. Call 9-1-1 immediately
If you or someone around you experiences the signs of possible stroke,
do not delay. Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible.