While the clock ticks, and the siren wails, this mobile unit can do a CT scan of the patient brain, perform the needed lab work, do a visual assessment, and administer TPA all on the way to the Emergency Department.
Cleveland Clinic has launched Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU) with its own lab, CT scanner, and specially trained personnel, to diagnose and begin treatment of potential stroke patients at the scene and on their way to the hospital. The team from the Cerebrovascular Center, directed by Peter Rasmussen, MD, is among the first in American to have an MTSU, and they have improved the concept with innovations, including the use of telemedicine to allow neurologists to manage patients remotely. “The MSTU essentially brings the emergency room to the patient,” says Dr. Rasmussen. So far, the MSTU has enabled caregivers to treat patients with thrombolytic therapy within a mean of 19 minutes of getting into the mobile unit – well below the 60 minute window recommended by guidelines. The MSU is projected to save between $2-4 million in its first year through savings in post-acute stroke therapy.