About the Mobile Stroke Unit
Dr. Tarun Bhalla discusses why bringing an MSU to Rochester was a priority, how the technology is improving outcomes, the financial, partnership-building, and staffing issues that need to be addressed, and how UR Medicine is integrating the MSU into a broader stroke awareness campaign.
Breaking New Ground in Acute Stroke Care
A new Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU), the first of its kind in the Western and Central New York, will bring the resources of an emergency room directly to the stroke victim’s driveway. The fully equipped van includes critical components to improve stroke outcomes and significantly reduce the time from the onset of symptoms to the delivery of care.
When the MSU gets a call to hit the road, it brings CT scan capability and blood clot-busting medications (IV-tPA) directly to the patient, where clot busters can be administered within minutes of the onset of the stroke—saving valuable time and in turn, saving brain function. The sooner a stroke victim receives lifesaving care, the more likely he or she is to experience a functional recovery and reduced disability.
Highly specialized staff members travel in the MSU, including a CT scanner operator, an emergency medical technician, and a trained stroke nurse who communicates directly with the stroke neurologist at URMC to determine the most appropriate therapy.
“We hope to assist Emergency Medicine physicians in the region by providing recommendations involving thrombolytic treatment or endovascular intervention for patients who present with an acute stroke. Serving as the region’s only Joint Commission-designated Comprehensive Stroke Center is both an honor and a responsibility.
We view this role in the community as part of our responsibility as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, as we work to improve stroke care for every patient in every hospital in the region.”
~Tarun Bhalla, MD, PhD
Director of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Services