COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - (HealthTech Wire / News) - Telestroke thrombolysis is a good example of how the use of information and communication technology in healthcare can significantly improve acute medical care. Specialized stroke units offers the best chances for patients to survive a stroke without or with only minor disabilities. But access to stroke specialists is limited, especially in more rural regions.
- Telestroke consultations to offer assistance to hospitals for treatment of patients with thrombolysis at night and on weekends
- Specialized stroke units offer the best chances for patients to survive a stroke without or with only minor disabilities
- “We performed thrombolysis in 57.5% of these patients, which is an extraordinarily high rate.”
Therapy during the first ninety minutes after the symptoms have started
Patients cannot easily be transferred to specialist stroke units because therapy should start as early as possible. “The number-one evidence-based therapy in stroke, thrombolysis, is most effective if applied during the first ninety minutes after the symptoms have started”, said Dr. Tiina Sairanen, neurologist at Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH).
Improving stroke care in more rural hospitals
In Finland, the Finnish Telestroke Network has been established to improve stroke care in more rural hospitals. The HUCH acts as the hub of the network. Neurologists are available there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In a first step, five smaller hospitals that are up to 800km away from Helsinki were connected to the HUCH using videoconferencing equipment. Apart from audiovisual consultations, the technology also allows for the transfer of brain CT scans.
Dr. Sairanen presented results of a study that analyzed 106 consecutive telestroke consultations within this network. “We performed thrombolysis in 57.5% of these patients, which is an extraordinarily high rate.” Half of these patients had a favorable long-term outcome, which again is a high percentage. In 6.7% of the patients, intracranial bleedings occurred. “This is not more than we see in our own patients in Helsinki”, said Sairanen.
No wonder that the network has proven attractive for others as well. Two more Finnish hospitals have joined just recently, and another two will join by the end of the year.
Source: HealthTech Wire