Thursday, November 24, 2005

Prehospital Stroke Care Initiative in Illinois

From the (Champaign-Urbana) News-Gazette:

All too often, precious time is lost because people don't recognize the signs of a stroke and don't go to the hospital, according to Dr. James Ellis, medical director of the emergency department at Provena Covenant Medical Center, Urbana.

That's why Covenant and its sister hospital in Danville, Provena United Samaritans Medical Center, have launched a new stroke assessment and treatment program that starts at the first possible moment, right in the ambulance.

Now, Provena officials say, when an ambulance is called for a possible stroke victim, emergency medical crews serving those two hospitals begin an assessment in the ambulance to determine if the patient is suffering an ischemic stroke and meets the strict criteria for a controversial, clot-busting drug treatment best-known by its acronym, tPA.

The ambulance crew also now starts the patient's IV, gets blood for lab tests and begins documenting findings on a treatment form that is continued by nurses upon arrival at the hospital.

And, to save time, the patient is taken directly to a CT scan at the hospital to confirm that an ischemic stroke has occurred, instead of being taken first to the emergency room, Ellis said.

The two Provena hospitals have set a goal of administering tPA, or tissue plasminogen activator, to patients who meet the criteria for the drug treatment within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital.


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