MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After the onset of stroke symptoms, there is a three-hour window to receive treatment before a patient is at risk for disability and mortality. Thanks to a Tele-stroke partnership with WVU Healthcare, stroke patients at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins will now experience more advanced care.

WVU Stroke Center neurologists will communicate with Davis Memorial Emergency Department staff using video conferencing devices to develop a care plan for the stroke patient, share tests like computed tomography (CT) scans and administer a clot-busting drug called a tissue plasminogen activator or tPA.

“You can have a WVU neurologist in the room virtually with Tele-stroke, and we can literally interview the patient and the emergency department physician in order to make a joint decision about the kind of treatment the patient needs,” WVU neurologist Laurie Gutmann, M.D., said.

The WVU Stroke Center team is able to securely view and interact with the patient while viewing diagnostic data over an encrypted connection using the internet as the communications platform. Video conferencing devices are installed at WVU Healthcare, Davis Memorial Hospital and at the homes of three WVU physicians. A video communication server hosted by Mountaineer Doctor Television (MDTV) provides a secure and encrypted communications pathway between all participating healthcare providers.

“This technology will provide patients with real-time consultations and ultimately quicker diagnosis by our stroke specialists,” Laura Roth, assistant vice president for WVU Healthcare Information Technology, said.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. Symptoms of stroke are slurred speech, difficulty walking, arm/leg weakness or numbness and facial drooping. When a stroke occurs or is suspected, call 911. The Stroke Center at WVU has an emergency response team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to evaluate and treat a stroke in time to minimize damage.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
dlc: 09-26-11