A special ambulance for stroke victims can greatly improve a person’s chance of recovery said two studies presented at a conference in San Francisco.
Mobile Stroke Treatment Units (MSTUs) are a rarity. There are only four in use across the globe, two in Germany and two in the U.S. The vehicle looks like an ambulance but holds specialized staff, medicine and equipment used to treat stroke patients on the way to the hospital.
The studies were presented at the NeuroInterventional Surgery 12th Annual Meeting. Shazam Hussain, head of the Cleveland Clinic Stroke Program, said time works against doctors when it comes to stroke. He said figuring out the right treatment in the shortest amount of time is the most important factor when working with a stroke patient.
The two studies presented indicated that MSTUs reduced the time for patients to receive treatment through the arteries (IAT) to the clot site. The MSTUs also reduced the time it took to rout patients to get the treatment, from dispatch to door, door to CT and CT to IAT.
About 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC notes that while stroke treatment has improved, prompt treatment remains the biggest factor in survival and avoiding long-term disability.
Strokes occur when oxygen can’t reach the brain. This causes the cells in the brain to die and could lead to brain damage, disability or even death.
The CDC urges people to call 9-1-1 if they think someone is having a stroke.