Aspirus Riverview Hospital Joins Wisconsin Telestroke Network

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Madison, Wisconsin - The Wisconsin Telestroke Network is marking Stroke Month by welcoming a new hospital partner and passing the milestone of treating its 1,000th patient.


The network welcomed Aspirus Riverview Hospital as its ninth member of the growing telestroke program, headquartered at University Hospital in Madison.


This means patients who go to Aspirus Riverview Hospital in Wisconsin Rapids with stroke symptoms have immediate access to the stroke neurologists at the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center.


A high-speed internet connection allows the neurologists to make a quick assessment of symptoms and, if necessary, order treatment that can save brain function. A clot-busting drug called tPA should be given within three hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke, which is caused when a blood clot blocks blood vessels in the brain. (In some cases, the treatment window can extend past four hours).


About 700,000 people have ischemic strokes in the United States; those who aren’t treated quickly can die or have permanent brain damage.


“We are so pleased to be able to extend the care of the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center to people in central Wisconsin,’’ says Dr. Natalie Wheeler, incoming medical director of the UW telestroke program. “This is truly the ‘Wisconsin Idea’ in action. We work with our community-hospital colleagues to ensure that every patient gets the right care in the right place at the right time.”


UW Hospital was one of the first certified comprehensive stroke centers in the country. The Joint Commission, which provides the certification, maintains strict standards for every step of a stroke patient’s care, from first radio contact with the ambulance crew through the emergency department, imaging, neurology, neurosurgery, hospital care, and rehabilitation.


To meet the “comprehensive” standard, the hospital proved it was ready 24/7 to treat multiple complex stroke cases at the same time. Certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers must have advanced imaging and treatment capabilities, specialists on staff around the clock, specially-trained staff and physicians, and faculty engaged in stroke research.


With the addition of Aspirus Riverview Hospital, the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center provides emergency care to stroke patients through a telestroke network of nine hospitals in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The project was the first of its kind in Wisconsin when it launched in 2009. Current members include Watertown Regional Medical Center, Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Southwest Health Center of Platteville, Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster, Beloit Memorial Hospital, UW Health at The American Center, and UW Health SwedishAmerican hospitals in Rockford and Belvidere, Ill. This collaborative approach extends the knowledge of UW experts to community hospitals without the expense of duplicating services.

Date Published: 05/05/2017

News tag(s):  strokeneurology

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