Grant Regional Health Center Joins Growing UW Telestroke Network

UW Health comprehensive stroke program: Physician with patient in telestroke programMadison, Wis. – UW Health welcomes Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster as the latest member of its Wisconsin Telestroke Network.

Grant County residents with stroke symptoms can now go to their local emergency department and have immediate, round-the-clock access to trained stroke neurologists. A high-speed internet connection allows neurologists from the UW Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center to examine and talk with patients via Web cam, and shows them CAT scans and other tests as they consult with Grant Regional physicians to offer treatment advice.

This arrangement saves precious time for patients, and in stroke treatment, each minute equals brain cells saved. A clot-breaking drug called rtPA (alteplase) needs to be given within three to four hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke, which is caused when a blood clot blocks blood vessels in the brain. Waiting too long to administer the drug can cause bleeding in the brain, or death.

“Our years of experience with Telestroke shows that this arrangement benefits patients,” says UW Health stroke neurologist Dr. Justin Sattin. “They can be treated as quickly as possible, by their own physicians in their hometown hospital, with a bedside consultation from a trained stroke neurologist.”

A study of a similar stroke telemedicine network in California, published in the journal Lancet-Neurology, found that telemedicine resulted in better decision-making than telephone consultations.

“There is no substitute for being able to see a patient and evaluate the stroke symptoms with your own eyes,” Sattin says.

The Wisconsin Telestroke Network launched in 2009 and now includes hospitals in Watertown and Beaver Dam as well as Rockford and Belvidere, Ill., all linked via Internet to the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Telestroke reflects UW Health’s collaborative approach – expanding access to specialty care without duplicating services available at community hospitals.

In many cases, Telestroke treatment will allow patients to stay in Lancaster. But in more complicated cases in which they need to come to Madison, the neurologists at UW Hospital will have already met and evaluated the patients.

At UW Hospital, patients who need further treatment will have access to neurosurgeons and other physicians who specialize in less-invasive surgery in which catheters are threaded into the brain to remove blood clots without surgery.

Nationwide, every year more than 700,000 people will suffer a stroke, which occurs when an artery in the brain is blocked by a blood clot or bursts and bleeds. Women are now more likely than men to suffer strokes, and 40 percent of all strokes strike people younger than 60.

The UW Hospital’s stroke program recently received the Gold Performance award for achieving the American Stroke Association’s top guidelines, and has been given a top award from the Joint Commission as well.

“Telestroke allows patients in any part of the state to get the same stroke assessment and treatment recommendations they could get at a comprehensive stroke center,” Sattin adds.

In addition to the stroke team, which is on call 24 hours a day, UW Health offers:

  • Five stroke neurologists, part of a multidisciplinary team that offers the area’s greatest level of experience in endovascular and neurosurgical procedures
  • The only Wisconsin hospital to offer the newly FDA-approved Pipeline device, used in treating giant aneurysms
  • A neurological intensive care unit with specialized nursing staff and neuro intensive care physicians
  • State-of-the art scanning
  • Advanced endovascular treatments to reduce stroke damage and/or prevent future strokes


Date Published: 09/11/2012

News tag(s):  strokeneurology

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