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UR Medicine / Stroke Center / Mobile Stroke Unit / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Mobile Stroke Unit?

The UR Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit is an ambulance solely focused on patients with stroke symptoms. With all the people, technology and medicine that a stroke victim requires, diagnosis can happen right away.

Unlike a traditional ambulance, the unit is  equipped with a CT scanner to diagnose strokes and the medicine needed to treat certain kinds of strokes, like the clot-busting treatment (tissue plasminogen – tPA),before patients reach the hospital. The faster a stroke victim receives treatment, the greater their chances to survive and to recover function. 

With the Mobile Stroke Unit, UR Medicine will be able to gather data on the timeliness of stroke care and patient outcomes – and use this information to further improve stroke care.

How unique is this program?

The UR Medicine MSU is the only unit of its kind in Western & Central New York and only the 13th in the nation.  Similar units have been in existence in other communities across the nation for several years.   The first MSU was launched in the U.S. in Houston in 2014.  Since then, MSU’s have been deployed in several other cities, the closest being Cleveland and New York City. 

How will the MSU be staffed?

MSU patient

The UR Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit is staffed by team members specifically trained in stroke care:

  • Paramedic and basic EMT
  • Registered Nurse trained in Stroke care
  • CT Technologist
  • Stroke Neurologist – remotely via telehealth

The unit is equipped with the following specialized technology:

  • CT scanner
  • Telehealth equipment
  • Point-of-care devices to test for INR, glucose, creatinine, and other values
  • Medications specific to acute stroke treatment, such as the clot-busting drug tPA

When is the Mobile Stroke Unit dispatched?

If the initial emergency call is a suspected stroke, the Mobile Stroke Unit will be dispatched immediately to the location, along with a standard ambulance.

If the standard ambulance arrives at the scene of the call first and determines that the individual has had a stroke, EMS staff will work with the Mobile Stroke Unit staff to provide acute stroke care.

What should an individual with suggested stroke symptoms do?

If you or a loved one has stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Your Emergency Medical Services provider will then contact the Mobile Stroke Unit if it is needed.

To which hospital will a patient be transported in the MSU?

Patients will be taken to the nearest hospital with the appropriate level of care to treat their stroke or the hospital requested by the patient.

What area does the MSU serve?

The MSU will be begin with serving Rochester city service area only.  However, over the course of several months,  the unit’s service area will be expanding to the remainder of Monroe County and eventually, to neighboring counties. 

locations for MSU