What is Telestroke?

Telestroke is the rapid virtual examination of a suspected stroke patient, over the video, including a review of imaging, and recommendation for or against the administration of a clot-busting drug and whether the patient should receive endovascular treatment (physically removing the clot).

Telestroke in Action

Telestroke was one of the first uses of teleNeurology, and remains one of the foundational and most requested neurologic services overall. See how it works in this video:

Telestroke Program Planning

While many stroke patients arrive at the emergency room, strokes can occur in patients already admitted to the hospital. A robust telestroke program should include both types of workflows.

Because every second matter in a suspected stroke, the American Heart Association, and the American Stroke Association have guidelines for hospitals for treatment. Hospitals are encouraged to Get with the Guidelines® on Stroke.

Types of Stroke

There are two main types of stroke, and although the symptoms are similar, the treatments are different. Diagnostic imaging shows the type of stroke and the location of the blockage, which helps doctors determine the most effective treatment:

Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot that blocks the passage of blood to the brain.

For most ischemic strokes, teleNeurologists will recommend the administration of an intravenous thrombolytic drug to dissolve the clot. It must be administered within a certain timeframe after the onset of stroke symptoms. This is why it is so important to recognize the signs of stroke and get medical treatment immediately:

Stroke Awareness Month F-A-S-T

Hemorrhagic strokes are caused when a burst blood vessel interrupts the flow of blood to the brain.

In a hemorrhagic stroke, options include thrombectomy, surgical removal of the blockage using a tool called a stent retriever. If the teleNeurologist recommends endovascular treatment, the patient may be transferred to a more specialized healthcare facility.

Benefits of Telestroke

  • Immediate access to specialists during a crucial, narrow time frame for stroke patients
  • Reduced time to diagnosis for rapid treatment
  • Increased capacity for patients treated
  • Increased patient retention
  • Improved rate of clot-busting drug administration
  • More lives saved

Conclusion

Incorporating telestroke into a hospital’s care offerings can mean the difference between life and death for stroke patients. By enabling specialists to diagnose and determine the proper treatment for a stroke during the crucial, narrow window of time for the best chances of success, telestroke moves patients through their treatment process more efficiently. Hospitals are able to treat more patients and provide better treatment to those patients, increasing their chance for survival and recovery.

Additional Resources on Telestroke

Implementation of the 2018 Stroke Guidelines

A teleNeurology Story: Implementing the 2018 Stroke Guidelines

Stroke Awareness Month F-A-S-T

Stroke Awareness Month Reminds Providers of New Guidelines

CarolinaEast Improving Stroke Care with teleNeurology Case Study

CarolinaEast improving stroke care with teleNeurology

Endovascular Thrombectomy in Acute Ischemic Stroke

American Academy of Neurology

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