NEW YORK — NewYork-Presbyterian, in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center and the FDNY, is launching the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU), the first of its kind on the East Coast.
The MSTU is an emergency vehicle specially equipped to provide immediate, specialized care to patients who may be having a stroke.
Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States suffer from a blockage in an artery of the brain, making stroke one of the most widespread and debilitating conditions and a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. Such blockages can deprive the brain of blood flow and oxygen, which, over the course of minutes, can lead to death or disability.
“The Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit delivers the most advanced technologies, expert staff and life-saving treatment to more stroke victims in need,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. “We are very proud to be the only hospital on the East Coast to provide these services. This is a remarkable achievement as we move forward in revolutionizing stroke care.”
Staffed by a highly specialized team of two paramedics from the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City, a computed tomography (CT) technologist and a neurologist, the MSTU is designed to significantly reduce the time from the onset of symptoms to the delivery of care, a crucial factor in improving stroke outcomes.
The unit also contains equipment and medications specific to diagnosing and treating strokes, including a medication called tPA, which dissolves the clot and improves blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood in the event of an ischemic stroke.
It is complete with a portable CT scanner that can image the patient’s brain on the spot to detect if the patient is having a stroke. The CT scan is then wirelessly transmitted to NewYork-Presbyterian, where it is promptly evaluated by a neuroradiologist.
Dr. Matthew Fink, neurologist-in-chief and chief of the Division of Stroke and Critical Care Neurology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Louis and Gertrude Feil Professor and chairman of the Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine; Dr. Richard Mayeux, neurologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; and Dr. Randolph Marshall, chief of the Division of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease and attending neurologist on the Stroke Service at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and the Elizabeth K. Harris Professor of Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, will collectively lead a team of stroke care specialists assigned to the unit.
“The most effective method in saving a stroke victim’s life is to diagnose and treat immediately after a stroke occurs,” Dr. Fink said. “The MSTU rapidly brings a neurologist and advanced technologies of an emergency room directly to the patient, offering state-of-the-art care that is only moments away. This is just the beginning—there will be a number of innovative clinical treatments that we will be developing in the future for the treatment of stroke in the field.”
The New York City 911 System via the FDNY will deploy the unit into communities surrounding NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center at East 68th Street and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center at West 168th Street when a patient is experiencing stroke symptoms.
“The FDNY is proud to partner with NewYork-Presbyterian to bring the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit into the 9-1-1 system, making this advanced, life-saving care readily available to patients suffering a stroke,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “This new unit will work closely with FDNY paramedics, EMTs and firefighters on some of the most serious medical calls the Department responds to, increasing the level of prehospital care our patients receive, preventing further long-term effects due to patients who have suffered a stroke, and potentially saving many more lives.”
The MSTU team will follow up with each patient after admission and gather information about their outcomes after 90 days; the percentage of patients treated on the MSTU who made a full recovery compared to those delivered by standard EMS transport; and overall cost of care.
Researchers will share information with similar units throughout the United States for a larger analysis on best treatment practices for emergency stroke care.