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Publications

Halting stroke damage with teleneurology

Bookmark and Share If you're having a stroke, you're on a race against the clock. And there are three things that may save your life: rapid diagnosis, precise treatment and the right experts. Working together, the best specialists for for rapid stroke care are an emergency physician and a neurologist. However, due to a national shortage of neurologists, this specialist is not always available. Fortunately, Virtua has found a solution to this serious situation. Virtua is transforming stroke care with teleneurology. This new technology is a portable videoconferencing monitor that puts a critical care neurologist — on-call at a central station — at a stroke patient's bedside within minutes of being called. Stroke needs to be treated quickly because, in a stroke, brain tissue dies. A recent medical study estimates that for every 60-second delay in stroke treatment, an individual loses a significant amount of brain cells. This can translate into devastating loss — such as the ability to walk, talk or even breathe on one's own. For a person having an ischemic stroke — the most common type that's caused by a blockage — getting to a hospital like Virtua the moment stroke symptoms start also increases the chance of being treated with tissue plasminogen activator or tPA. This powerful drug is the only FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes, and must be given within three hours of when symptoms start and under strict supervision.