When it comes to a stroke, time equals brain cognition and every second counts. That's why the Emergency Department at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills has begun using telestroke, a remote video consultation system that connects a stroke patient in the hospital's ED to a Northwell Health stroke neurologist in real time day or night.
"Most hospitals across the United States do not have a stroke neurologist on-site. However, we are able to leverage the extraordinary depth of Northwell Health to assure that these specially-trained physicians are available to patients in our Emergency Department,” said Teresa Amato, MD, chair of emergency medicine at LIJ Forest Hills.
Through telestroke, we are able to bring the stroke specialist to the patient's bedside via innovative technology. An ED nurse wheels a cart with a 32-inch monitor and camera to the patient’s bed and remotely connects to the stroke neurologist’s workstation.
The stroke neurologist can see and talk to the patient immediately, has access to all critical data, such as vital signs and test results, and can administer a physical exam with the aid of a nurse.
Prior to telestroke, the ED physician and neurologist would have to discuss symptoms and treatment options by phone. The telestroke system builds upon that connectivity, which is a great community resource given that LIJ Forest Hills treats more than 500 cases of stroke a year.
Using real-time technology helps the stroke neurologist to determine whether to give the patient plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting drug that can dissolve a blood clot and prevent the stroke area from becoming larger.
The video consult can also help assess if the patient requires transport to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, which is a tertiary facility which provides neurosurgery.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain gets blocked by a clot or bursts. The clot-busting drug is only effective if it’s administered within three hours of stroke symptoms.
“If you're having a stroke you need to get to a hospital as quickly as possible. With the clot-busting drugs that we give you, every minute that you delay treatment is 1.9 million brain cells lost," said Dr. Amato.
"What we want the Forest Hills community to know is this: we here at LIJ Forest Hills are ready and able 24/7 to get you critical stroke treatment quickly and safety. Now we can do it in conjunction with top Northwell stroke specialist within seconds."